ISLAMABAD - The officials of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) have been brainstorming to make arrangements for payment to foreign companies to import various medical instruments, as the allocated amount lapsed with the end of last financial year.

The hospital had placed orders with the foreign companies for the import of various medical instruments of critical care, cardiac surgery, heart investigation and monitoring machines etcetera under two projects of Rs 550 million. Although, according to PIMS officials, the orders were placed after the approval of the concerned departments and following procedures, yet Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) refused to release the amount on time and raised various objections; consequently the amount lapsed. The AGPR objected that the PPRA rules were not followed for the import of equipment.

A request has been sent to the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) again to further forward it to the Finance Division to make allocations afresh but its a tedious and lengthy process and may put the PIMS officials in trouble if the release are not made on time to the foreign companies after delivery of the equipment.

Officials believe that procedural delays, objections by AGPR and weariness of the hospital officials caused delays in releases. Many other bills of hospital and of various other departments were lying pending in AGPR during the last days of the fiscal year but the hospital bills should have been cleared on priority basis, they said.

"The hospital has been facing shortage of various medical instruments and daily we receive three to five requests for the provision of various instruments. Even a relative of Former Deputy Speaker of National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi died due to other complications and shortage of ventilator," informed an official.

PIMS Spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja said the hospital has 100 per cent occupancy rate as its 1000 beds are always occupied. About 4000 to 7000 patients visit the hospital outpatient departments daily and patients with critical conditions from other parts of the country are also referred to the hospital.

"The hospital is overloaded and needs expansion, more resources and staff to cater to the needs of all the visiting patients. It is always in need of many medical instruments and equipments to ease the shortage we had placed orders for the supply that will be made within three to four months but for the payments we will have to follow the procedure again from the start' he added.