close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
March 24, 2020

Punjab faces shortage of doctors, nurses, paramedics

National

March 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar’s approval is being sought by the health department to immediately fill most of the 19,000 vacant positions of doctors, nurses and paramedics in Punjab to cope with the fast spreading coronavirus.

The whopping number of posts of doctors, nurses and paramedics, which are lying vacant in Punjab, have not been filled despite the alarming emergency caused by the Covid-19. It is not known whether these positions got vacant during the present government.

A senior official of the Punjab government told The News on condition of anonymity that in view of emerging crisis, a summary is being moved to the chief minister to have more doctors, nurses and paramedics. The state of affairs continues in spite of the fact that the in-service medical staff is under immense strains. “They are the real heroes, risking their lives,” the official said. He said that the prevailing shortage in Punjab has put the health facilities under huge pressure, which can be relieved to some extent by removing the deficiency of doctors, nurses and paramedics apart from arranging sufficient number of ventilators and protective medical equipment for the medical professionals, performing critical duty.

Another source said that the present government imposed ban on new recruitments in July 2018. However, last year, he said, it recruited doctors and other staff on ad hoc basis in major hospitals, basic/rural health units through walk-in interviews, conducted by technical and local committees. But, the official said, several doctors were de-motivated to take part in the process finding no career in temporary employment. They preferred jobs through the public service commission, he said.

Talking about the shortage of doctors, nurses and paramedics, the official said that to quote an example, big public medical facilities in Rawalpindi like the Institute of Cardiology, and Holy Family and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed hospitals have more than 40-50 percent paramedics positions vacant. This situation has continued despite the efforts by the managers of the hospitals, who have raised the shortage of doctors and other staff, he said. The official said the Punjab finance department had wanted to save funds and did not support new recruitments. During the previous administration, the local heads of institutions were allowed to do ad hoc and walk-in interviews for critically needed positions, he said.

There is an abundance of doctors, who are desperate to seek jobs and are struggling to get employment to build their careers. This means that if the Punjab government takes a decision to make new recruitments, it will find a large number of aspirants, wishing to get even ad hoc appointments.

While this is the situation in Punjab, leaving much to be desired, the Sindh government of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which has been leading all its provincial counterparts and the federal administration in swift decisions to deal with the deep crisis created by the Covid-19 outbreak, has again taken the lead in having a sufficient number of new doctors.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has decided to recruit hundreds of young doctors for ad hoc period of six months at field hospitals and quarantine centres being established in the province.

Sindh Minister Saeed Ghani said now there is a time for young doctors seeking jobs to come forward and not only acquire employment but also serve their fellow citizens in the face of coronavirus threat.

Officials say with its increasing population, Pakistan is facing a shortage of more than 0.2 million doctors, 0.18 million dentists and 1.4 million nurses. Due to the government’s laxity, an appropriate number of doctors have not been posted in hospitals, owing to which the patients face lot of problems daily in getting medical treatment at private and government hospitals in the entire country.

Daily, several patients visit hospitals to receive medical treatment but they leave the hospital with disappointment and worry on their faces due to the lack of doctors. As per the global standards, it is an obligation that around two doctors, a dentist and eight nurses should be taking care of 1,000 people. However the story in Pakistan is different where this standard is not met in number of doctors and nurses.

It is in the public domain that thousands of Pakistani doctors have moved abroad for a better future.