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Long wait for surgeries at hospital

July 10, 2012

ISLAMABAD, July 10: Azhar Mehmood wants a mole removed from his body and urgently. He needs plastic surgery for that.

But the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has told him that his turn on the operation table will come by the end of 2013.

“I have beaten at every door to get an earlier appointment but in vain,” Mehmood, not his real name, said to Dawn. “One surgeon told me that the list for routine procedures is very long and emergency surgeries always take precedence.”

Workload has certainly increased at government-run hospitals in the federal capital over the years, weakening the efficiency of the hospitals and delivery of health services to citizens who cannot afford the expensive private health care system. Doctors at Pims also feel overburdened. “In the Plastic Surgery Department, we attended around 3,000 patients in 2005. Now the annual figure has crossed 11,000,” reminded Prof Hameed-ud-Din, head of the department, justifying the long waiting time for surgeries.

“We provide immediate treatment to patients who need quick plastic surgeries of open wounds. Others are put on the waiting list,” he said. Asked about the number of surgeries performed yearly by his department, Prof Din said operation theatre data showed that 1,100 plastic surgeries were performed in 2011, compared to 450 in 2005. “My team has been treating patients from all over Pakistan. We have treated patients from AJK and even from Lahore. It is not our fault if the waiting time for patients who need routine treatment has gone beyond March 2013,” he said. Pims spokesman Dr Waseem Khawaja asserted that workload of the hospital has been increasing with the increase in population and health consciousness. “People bring patients to us from far off places of Azad Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and even Punjab,” he said.

“The federal government has not defined the area Pims has to serve. That adds to the load of the hospital and routine outpatients have to wait for long period,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Pims administration was trying to ease the situation for patients needing surgical procedures. “Hopefully the problem will be resolved in few months time,” he added.