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Dawn

GUJRAT: The unavailability of residential facilities at the Parvez Elahi Institute of Cardiology (PEIC) Wazirabad, has been a major cause for the approved seats of senior doctors and other staff lying vacant, rendering its various departments only partially operational, and depriving people of the full benefits of the cardiac facility.

Well-placed sources in the Wazirabad cardiology hospital say that the hospital had originally been designed as a 200-bed facility. However, initially the posts were sanctioned as per a 100-bed facility. However, after over a decade of the hospital becoming operational, at least 40 percent of the approved seats are still lying vacant, the sources say.

They say though a residential colony had been included in the original design of the hospital to attract senior doctors and trained staff to be posted there, so far there is no such facility available, except for a nurses hostel.

For instance, the sources say, out of 10 seats of registrars, only one could be filled due to which the operational capabilities of the cardiac facility have been compromised.

40pc seats lying vacant at the cardiac facility

They say though the vacant posts had been advertised many times, no senior doctor and technician from Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad is ready to get posted at Wazirabad in the absence of proper residences.

To attract senior doctors and other staff to the facility, provision of better facilities is a must so that the hospital could become functional at least as per requirements of a 100-bed facility, says a senior physician from Lahore, who had been posted at PEIC Wazirabad and used to stay for only two days a week at the facility for lack of a residence.

Another official says that the institute is presently conducting 5-6 open heart surgeries in a week, but the number of such procedures can be increased up to 10 per week if the already sanctioned seats of surgeons and senior doctors are filled by providing them proper residences.

Currently, he says, there is a three-year-long waiting queue for the patients seeking open heart surgeries at PEIC, Wazirabad, due to staff shortage.

Punjab health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique paid a surprise visit to the institute around three weeks ago and inspected various section of the facility. The minister spent a couple of hours at the hospital to have a detailed insight into the PEIC affairs.

Dr Naeem Akhtar Janjua, Medical Superintendent of the PEIC Wazirabad told Dawn that the Punjab government is showing a keen interest in improving the facilities at the institute as the health minister has also held a couple of follow-up meetings through video-link on the issues being faced by the institute.

He says that the vacant seats will hopefully be filled soon as efforts are being made to hire the required staff and a series of meetings have been held to resolve the issue.

The institute was established in 2007 by the then-chief minister of Punjab, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. After becoming chief minister for the second time in August 2022, Mr Elahi had announced to expand the facility up to 400 beds.

The provincial government had renamed the facility as Parvez Elahi Institute of Cardiology in September 2022.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2024

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