Islamabad - Patients on Thursday demanded the concerned authorities to improve services at Gynaecology department of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

According to them, many patients who visited the hospital from far-flung areas had to wait for hours in long queues outside the gynae department for getting medical cards, where a limited place for waiting had been arranged for them. They said that due to issuing limited medical cards and limited duration of issuance of cards, a large number of patients had to return home empty-handed by the end of the day, despite waiting for hours in long queues.

Mostly patients were asked to return the next day by the department administration, which could prove to be fatal for pregnant women, who visited the hospital from remote areas, they said.

They also complained about ineffective treatment methodology, rude attitude of female doctors and shortage of senior doctors at gyne wards. They said that only limited beds were available in gynae wards, where not only staff was limited but there were acute shortage of medicines.

They asked to take notice of frequent absence of senior doctors and non-observance of duty-roster by medical and non-medical staff at gynae wards. “There should be a monitoring mechanism to check whether the duty staff observed their duties or not at gynae wards,” said Altaf Shah, the husband of a patient.

He said that a system of reward and punishment should be initiated by the hospital management under which responsible staff should be encouraged while those who do not take their duties seriously should be removed or punished. Another attendant, Naem Malik alleged that senior doctors mostly remained absent from their duties while only postgraduate (PG) doctors, who were studying there, ran the affairs of the most sensitive department of the hospital.

He added due to the limited knowledge and experience, the PGs could not satisfy the patients having serious medical complications. They even could not properly treat patients with minor medical issues at OPDs and mostly referred serious ones to other hospitals. Asif Mumtaz, the attendant of a woman said, “The rush at Gynae OPDs is maddening here. The hospital should increase the OPD rooms for dealing with maximum number of patients daily besides increasing the number of beds.”

He added senior gynaecologists should be posted in the labour room so that these are vacated early while the number of operation theaters should be increased to ensure routine gynaecological surgeries to keep more beds free for deliveries. He said that the city dispensaries should be strengthened and gynaecologists should be posted at each of them while the timings of these dispensaries should be increased to facilitate patients. “Some doctors are good, but the hospital’s gynae ward should have more beds as it is not easy to lie on a stretcher, especially after a caesarean operation. The entire experience was horrifying. I cannot wait to get back home,” said a patient.

She said due to non-professional attitude of the staff at the labour rooms and gynae wards, patients faced several hardships, particularly those in a critical condition. Sometimes patients at the gynae department needed an immediate response from expert doctors but only PGs were found there and the specialist doctors could not reach the ward on time.

Another patient said keeping in view the serious nature of the section, only well trained medical and non-medical staff, who know the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and all other procedures, should be assigned at this department. She said that the concerned authorities should immediately expand the existing gynae ward with more staff to provide timely and properly medical care to the patients. The antenatal and postnatal services should be improved for patient care, she added.

“It was surprising when I came to know that the senior doctors were making mere rounds, while the junior graduates were performing complicated operations without any supervision.” A junior doctor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told this scribe that senior doctors, including those on night duties often remained absent from the wards while they preferred C-section rather normal delivery to collect more money from poor patients.

When contacted, an official of PIMS said that unlike medical practices abroad where one doctor examines five to seven patients in a day, here at PIMS each doctor had to examine several patients daily at gynae OPDs due to shortage of medical practitioners. He said a sufficient number of doctors perform their duties in the hospital’s Gynaecology department including wards at day and night time to properly serve the patients. He said the hospital management had taken several steps to provide best medical care to the patients. He added a team of doctors remained in the gynae wards of the hospital round the clock to provide proper medical cover to the patients.