Islamabad-Government hospitals of the federal capital are failing to cope with the huge influx of patients due to a shortage of beds in the healthcare facilities, The Nation learned on Tuesday. The city with above two million residents has only 2000 beds in its public sector hospitals, which are always found, occupied.  The city has four government hospitals including Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Federal General Services Hospital (FGSH) Polyclinic, Federal General Hospital (FGH) and National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM).  After the abolition of the ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), all the hospitals are working under ministry of National Health Services (NHS).

PIMS, the largest hospital of the region has above 1100 beds, Polyclinic has 550-bed capacity, NIRM 150 beds and FGSH has 50-bed capacity. An official of the ministry of NHS said that PIMS and Polyclinic hospitals have become overburdened as neither their capacity was increased in the last five years nor any new hospital was constructed in the city to reduce the burden. The official said that FGSH does not have the proper facilities and staff, while NIRM has locked horns with CDA over a plot which was acquired by the hospital for its extension.  “Resultantly, the beds in all hospitals are found 100 percent occupied all the time and patients have to wait for months to get admission in these hospitals,” the official said.  The official further said, not only the beds are occupied by the patients, but the stretchers are also running short in the hospitals and administrations of the hospitals adjusts the patients in the corridors of OPDs, wards and emergency rooms.   These hospitals are providing healthcare to the residents of twin cities, Murree, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP) and Punjab. 

An official at PIMS sharing the details of patients’ influx and shortage of beds said that the Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) has now reached above 8000 patients daily and is increasing every day. The official said that PIMS has above one dozen departments and ten sub specialties for the provision of health care to the patients. The departments are Urology, General Surgery, Dental, Rheumatology, Neuro Surgery, E.N.T, Eye, Orthopedics, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Pulmonology, Neurology and Psychiatry. Along with less number of beds, the hospital is also facing shortage of ventilators and the facility has only one hundred ventilators for the outnumber patients daily visiting the hospital.

According to the data Medical ICU has 09, Surgical ICU 12, Paeds ICU 12, Burn Care Center 12, Critical Care Unit 12, Neurology ICU 12, Cardiac Center 06, Gynecology 14, and above ten ventilators are on extra beds. PIMS spokesperson, Dr Waseem Khawaja talking to The Nation said that the hospital is not only facing shortage of beds but also severe shortage of medical staff. “One doctor has to examine around 200 patients daily in the OPD which is against the international practice,” he said. Dr Waseem also said that the construction of a new hospital is the solution of catering the huge influx of the patients. 60percent of the patients comes from the other cities which also affect the health facilities which were to be provided to the local population.  He said PIMS emergency department has immense pressure on its shoulders and it cannot admit every serious patient. “We ask other hospitals to confirm the availability of beds before referring patients to PIMS.”

Meanwhile, the previous government also shelved the extension project of Polyclinic, which if implemented, would have had doubled its capacity and the number of beds would have been increased to 1100.

Spokesperson Polyclinic hospital Dr Sharif Astori informed The Nation that the hospitals built decades ago were to cater the one million population of the city. He added that no development has been done for the extension of Polyclinic hospital which is coping with around 5000 patients daily, in its OPD only.  “We never have any free bed and patients wait for months to be admitted,” he said. 

He also said that the previous government proposed the extension of Polyclinic hospital on the nearby Argentina Park, but the matter was shelved as the project was challenged in the court. 

Dr. Sharif also said that the influx of the patients on the federal hospitals has increased as the health sector in the provinces also remained neglected and less development was done there as well.  Spokesperson NHS Sajid Hussain Shah said that the population of the federal city is increasing every year and the government will construct four new hospitals in the city.  He said that the new hospitals will add around 3000 beds in the health system, while the capacity of PIMS, Polyclinic, NIRM and FGH will be also increased. “Construction of new hospitals will divide the burden on hospitals,” he added.