LAHORE - Dysfunctional equipment, shortage of life saving medicines and trained cardiologists are hampering service delivery at Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), TheNation has learnt.

People coming from across the province are getting long dates due to extraordinary rush, dysfunctional equipment and priority for the paying patients. Unavailability of free medicines has left the poor with no other option except to purchase from the open market at inflated rates.

Tab Amlodipine 5mg used to treat chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure (hypertension) is not available at OPD free pharmacy of PIC. The said drug is essential to dilate (widen) blood vessels for improving blood flow. Lowering blood pressure may lower risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Metoprolol 100mg, beta-blocker, is also unavailable for a long period. It improves blood flow through arteries and veins. It is used to treat angina (chest pain) and hypertension (high blood pressure). It is also used to treat or prevent heart attack.

Diltiazem 60mg relaxes muscles of heart and blood vessels. It is used for treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and certain heart rhythm disorders.

Lisinopril 10mg is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and congestive heart failure in adults. The drug, which helps survive a heart attack, is also unavailable for poor patients.

Huge influx of patients at PIC due to lack of such specialised healthcare centres in the province is causing doctors to give long dates not only for surgery but also for tests like Angiography and Echo. Dysfunctional equipment is causing swelling of waiting lists for important tests. Two out of five Angiography machines are lying dysfunctional, adding to the miseries of poor patients visiting PIC. With the waiting list for Angiography and Angioplasty swelling due to dysfunctional equipment, the poor are being given dates beyond 12 to 18 months.

On the other hand, management is accommodating paying patients for getting share in treatment. Five out of eight Echocardiography machines have also been out of order for several weeks, causing doctors to give long date for the basic test.

Though newly constructed 100-bed Emergency has been made functional, it has failed to leave any visible impact. Only 23 out of 34 recently recruited cardiologists have assumed charge. These doctors have no experience of cardiac emergency. Moreover, the administration has provided only one ventilator for 100-bed Emergency.

Huge influx of patients is causing doctors to treat two patients on one bed besides continuing the old practice of extending healthcare facilities on stretchers and wheel-chairs.


Health meeting

Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Minister Kh Salman Rafiq chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Health Sector Reforms at Civil Secretariat yesterday.

Population Welfare Minister Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Social Welfare Minister Syed Haroon Sultan, Secretary SH&ME Najam Ahmed Shah, Secretary Primary & Secondary Health Ali Jan Khan, Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University Prof Faisal Masood, Member Health P&D Dr Shabana Haider, Special Secretary Health Dr Sajid Mahmood Chauhan, Additional Secretary Health Development Musarat Jabeen, Chief Planning Officer Abdul Haq Bhatti, Dr Naeemuddin Mian and officials concerned attended the meeting.

Najam Ahmed Shah apprised the meeting of the completed development projects and requested the minister to approach the Chief Minister for suitable time for inauguration. The meeting approved special pay package for MOs/WMOs recruited on contract basis to the remote hospitals. Kh Salman Rafiq approved recruitment of cardiologists to Vehari DHQ hospital and Orthopedic Surgeon and Ophthalmologist to Daska THQ Hospital.