Low Medical Staff Occupancy Rate in THQs; Specialized Services Lacking

Seventy six Tehsil Headquarter Hospitals (THQs) monitored by FAFEN in January 2012 showed less than 50% occupancy rate of sanctioned positions for medical staff including anesthetists, gynecologists, ENT specialists and physicians. The situation was quite alarming in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan where all positions for specialized staff were not even sanctioned while in hospitals where the positions for medical staff were sanctioned, they were not occupied.

The monitored hospitals also lacked specialized units with at least 67% of these without cardiology, chest, dermatology, ENT, orthopedic and pathology departments. Similarly, there was no ophthalmology department in three-fifths of the hospitals while specialized services for gynecology and obstetrics were non-existent in 34 monitored facilities.

However, of all the monitored hospitals, 48 had surgical departments with 58 having dental departments. The availability of specialized services needs to be ensured because in the absence of such services, patients have to travel long distances to seek treatment elsewhere, which is not only inconvenient but also expensive.

On a positive note, the availability of general and physical facilities was far better than the specialized services. Eighty five percent of the THQs were properly connected by roads, had in-house pharmacies, and telephone and electricity connections. On the other hand, at least 80% of the facilities had running ambulances, generators for power backup, x-ray, dental and labour rooms, operation theaters, medico-legal services and wards for in-patients.

FAFEN observers interviewed three out-patients at each of the 76 monitored hospitals to ascertain the quality of treatment they received. Of the 228 who were interviewed, six complained the doctors were not present on duty; 41 were not satisfied with the amount of time given by the doctors to attend to them while 27 categorized the doctors’ behaviour as rude. As many as 190 patients said they received the required support and guidance from staff while 33 showed their dissatisfaction with support staff.

To download complete report, click here