Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) authorities issued a show-cause notice to the medical superintendent of Sarfraz Rafiquee Shaheed Hospital of the KMC after not a single doctor, staff member or administrative official was found present at the hospital premises at 9:30am on Monday.
“Today, I visited Sarfraz Rafiquee Shaheed Hospital at 9:30am and, to my surprise, not a single doctor was present on duty while the registration counter was also closed. There was neither any patient nor any doctor at the hospital, which is a 100-bed health facility and consumes millions of rupees of annual budget,” Senior Director Health and Medical Services KMC Dr Birbal Genani said while talking to The News.
KMC officials said it was not the first time when doctors and administrative officials of Sarfraz Rafiquee Shaheed were found absent from their duty, as earlier on many occasions, not only the doctors and staff but even the medical superintendent, Dr Nadeem Iqbal, were found absent.
Dr Birbal Genani said the hospital was one of the flagship health facilities of the KMC in the recent past where people from entire downtown areas, including Kharadar, Keamari and the adjoining areas, used to visit for seeking medical treatment, but these days patients were compelled to visit private hospitals due to the absence of doctors and consultants.
He said that during his visit to the SRS on Monday morning, laboratory and operation theaters were found closed, accounts and administrative staff were also absent from their duties and it appeared that perhaps it was a public holiday being observed at the health facility.
“But even on public holidays, doctors, paramedics and nurses come to their duties as they are part of the essential services, who remain present on duty to provide health services to the masses,” Dr. Genani said and added that the attitude of SRS staff and management was intolerable.
According to the health director, the KMC had recently provided essential medicines and supplies to all the hospitals including SRS and now it was the responsibility of doctors and the medical superintendent of the hospital to facilitate poor patients who could not afford treatment at private hospitals and clinics.
He maintained that they were also trying to improve the health facilities being run by the KMC so that the people of Karachi could get free-of-charge health facilities and in this regard, efforts were under way to revamp and revitalise Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), one of the few tertiary-care hospitals in Karachi.
“You would be surprised to learn that Abbasi Shaheed Hospital had been functioning without an ECG machine for last many months and we provided six ECG machines to the hospital a few days back so that people could be properly treated at the hospital,” he said and added that medicines, supplies and equipment were being provided to the ASH so that the people of the area could avail quality health facilities.
To a query, he said the KMC was facing financial issues and that was hampering its ability to revamp health facilities in the city, but he added that they were trying to improve the health facilities one after another with meager resources at their disposal.