Medical staff shortage mars healthcare system in Sindh

RATODERO: The shortage of doctors and paramedics in the hospitals across Sindh has badly affected healthcare system in Sindh, resulting in torments to the patients and their attendees.

The shortage of medical staff could be judged from a recent order issued by the Additional Health Secretary (Admin) on 15th January 2014 in which it was observed that while forwarding applications for grant of leave of doctors and paramedics, the relevant head of institutes, hospitals and offices do not mention the name of substitute medical employee for performing the same duty during the leave period. The order directed that all heads of institutes, hospitals and offices to forward such cases along with name of substitutes in future. The copies of this order have been sent to the Director General, Health Services, Sindh, Hyderabad, all Medical Superintendents (MSs), District Health Officers (DHOs), Sections Officers for information & compliance. This is state of affairs in health department of Sindh.

If we minutely evaluate this order, it will mean that no doctor of any scale should avail leave at all, especially when he requires to conduct surgery case as he will not be able to find his substitute, a DHO said.

Another medical officer told PPI that how would it be possible for a single doctor to look after two surgical or emergency wards when the hospitals were facing acute shortage of doctors or how would a medical officer be able to work in two shifts in rural areas.

There are so many vacancies of medical officers lying vacant since long for which the health department has time and again been approached to fill the same through Sindh Public Service Commission to overcome medical staff shortage but they have done nothing except issuing useless directives which are in conflict with their basic rights, he added.

A former paramedical staff association office-bearer said on condition of anonymity that all hospitals in Sindh were short of medical staff, while vacancies filled during last six years were also in violation of merit.

It may be noted that a qualified dispenser cannot carryout orders of two wards if another dispenser is on leave and one operation theatre technician will never be able to perform two shift duties to help his colleague.

He said that if the government wanted to establish good governance in health department, it will have to discourage recommendation culture and adopt merit one at all levels. He said many technical posts have been filled in with non-technical persons during the last PPP rule which has created serious administrative problems even in teaching hospitals.

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