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August 17, 2018

Cardiac services a neglected sector in KP


August 17, 2018

PESHAWAR: Though the improvement of cardiac services has never been the priority of the successive governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, this important sector remained neglected during the previous five-year rule of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The best example of it is the over-crowded Cardiology Department of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) where all the echo machines except one had been out of order in the echocardiography section for the last three years.

The Cardiology Department has stopped providing services to the patients having Sehat Sahulat cards, apparently due to differences with the LRH administration over misuse of funds generated through this programme.

“The administration deducts 25 percent share of doctors from Sehat Sahulat Card holders.

However, the amount is not being paid to the doctors, which is against the notification of KP government,” a source said.

The consultants’ share was stopped by caretaker medical director of LRH in January 2016 but the administration still receives the “shares amount” from every paid patient.

The staff members at the Cardiology Department are happy that things would change for the better now that Prof Nausherwan Burki, who had purchased and installed two new angiography machines in 2016 would again take charge of the LRH.

“Except one echo machine, which is also not working properly, all other machines are out of order in the over-crowded Cardiology Department of LRH,” said an official of the hospital.

According to doctors, the LRH administration had made several pledges in the past to procure new echo machines for Cardiology Department but the commitment wasn’t honoured.

Interestingly, an official in the LRH administration told The News that when a paediatric cardiologist got frustrated with the hospital authorities after the latter did not provide him the echo machine for children suffering from acute cardiac problems, he purchased a re-furbished US made echo machine for Rs700,000 for Paediatric Ward from donation money provided by an unknown person as Zakat.

He said neither the LRH administration nor the Board of Governors (BoG) was able to address the genuine concerns of the cardiologist and it seemed as if he was demanding the machine for himself.

“And if the government or for that matter LRH was supposed to purchase that machine, it would have cost up to (approximately) Rs8 million,” an official told The News on condition of anonymity.

He said the price of a good quality US or Japanese made HP 5500 or 7500 re-furbished machine is in the range of Rs300,000 to Rs500,000, and almost all the cardiology departments in public and private sectors are reportedly using the same machines.

“If LRH had to purchase the new echo machine it would have cost us up to Rs8 million due to various reasons. Unfortunately, it is illegal to purchase re-furbished cheaper machines from local dealer, the official said. “This is strange.

For example, if a prime minister doesn’t want to live in the Prime Minister’s House, it is not against the rules but procuring good quality and procuring cheap refurbished machine from local dealer is against the rules.”

The experts said if the LRH wants to buy one echo machine for Rs8 million, one can purchase 20 refurbished Japanese or USA made Philips echo machines on this price for the whole of KP and also LRH.

The government can import these directly from US and Japan too.

In the Accident and Emergency Department of LRH, the trainee doctors complained they didn’t have a single echo machine even though trained doctors remain present there to look after cardiac patients in the CCU.

Former Medical Director, Prof Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi had pledged three years ago when CCU was established in the casualty department to arrange echo machine.

He resigned later after two years but couldn’t honour his promise. One machine was offered to head of Cardiology Department but was rejected by him as it was a Chinese made low quality machine.

According to sources, head of Cardiology Department, Prof Dr Adnan Gul also purchased one US made re-furbished PHILPS echo machine for Cath Lab and one for ward CCU recently from his own resources with price ranging Rs. 350,000 to 500,000 when he got disappointed with the LRH administration.

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