Shortage of skilled staff affects patient-care at NICH

KARACHI: National Institute of Child Health (NICH) has been facing acute shortage of skilled staff for last four years, which affects patient-care in this largest children-care institution of Sindh province.

An official of NICH on condition of anonymity said there is acute shortage of skilled nurses, paramedics and specialist doctors in this 500-bed institution. He said this children hospital is considered one of the largest children hospitals of the province and it provides tertiary care services for almost all types of paediatric diseases.

He informed over 270 posts have been lying vacant in hospital for last four years and there is urgent need of recruiting skilled nurses, paramedics and doctors to improve patient care in the healthcare. He said hundreds of employees are waiting for their promotions but up-gradation of staff had been delayed due to court matters.

The hospital administration is facing multiple challenges after the devolution of the healthcare to the province. He informed that there is acute shortage specialist doctors in radiology and anaesthesia departments which have increased the burden on existing doctors.

Official said hundreds of employees are waiting for their promotions, adding no departmental promotion committee meeting was held in past four years. He said dozens of employees have already retired from their posts, some other have left job and some others joined other national and international health institutions.

He said uncertainty prevails in nurses and paramedical staff, doctors and other employees about their future and they are discharging their duties half-heartedly in healthcare. The patient care has also declined in institution as compared to past.

When contacted, Director National Institute of Child Health Prof Jamal Raza said matter is in the knowledge of high ups of provincial health department. He said promotions and hiring of employees had been delayed due to some legal issues.