LAHORE - The service delivery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has been greatly affected by outdated and dysfunctional equipment, maladministration, shortage of healthcare providers and allied health staff, ever increasing workload of patients and inadequate space in almost all departments.

Established in 1921 in the Walled City by philanthropist Sir Ganga Ram, the health facility was shifted to the present location in 1943 to meet the requirements of fast growing Lahore. It is presently an 860-bed hospital affiliated with Fatima Jinnah Medical College, a dedicated medical institution for female students.

The health facility is getting over 2,000 patients at OPD and over 1,500 at Emergency daily. As the hospital is in the heart of the city, its Gynecology department is dealing 200-250 pregnant women on daily basis.

Shortage of healthcare providers has considerable increased number of patients per doctor, hampering diagnosis and treatment facilities at all departments.

Important equipment including ventilators, operation theatre lights, OT tables, cautery machines, sucker machines, ECG machines, defidrillator, anesthesia machine, cardiac monitors and nebulizers are lying dysfunctional for months, causing huge inconvenience to visiting patients. They are left with no other option except to go to other health facilities in public or private sectors. The equipments, doctors say, are outdated and as such cannot be repaired.

“Central air conditioning system is not working properly. Chiller plants are lying dysfunctional for months that are causing huge inconvenience in carrying out surgical procedures. Doctors have conveyed to the administration time and again but to no avail. Now strike is the last option for doctors”, said Dr Abid Abbas, President Young Doctors Association Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chapter.

“There is only one portable X-Ray machine in the hospital. It is used only for protocol patients. Patients in serious condition are taken to Radiology Department for X-Rays. This practice can deteriorate the condition of a patient. ECG machine is available only at the CCU. All the patients in ICU are referred to the CCU whenever ECG is required,” said Dr Ali Dogar. The management was only passing time by using working equipment instead of going for the right option of replacing outdated machinery of all departments, he added.

“The hospital has neither space nor equipment to accommodate such a huge number of patients. Lack of space is causing healthcare providers to accommodate 2-3 patients on one bed in almost all departments including gynae ward. Dysfunctional equipment and inefficient oxygen supply is causing complications and even death of newborns in Neonate,” said Dr Asif Hussain, another office bearer of YDA Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chapter. He added the mismanagement and improper security has already caused replacement and even kidnapping of newborns.

Dr Umar Shah said: “The management has appointed blue-eyed doctors on important posts in violation of set criterion and merit. Most of the DMS lacked requisite qualification and experience for holding administrative posts. This is resulting into unpleasant incidents of exchange of harsh arguments between doctors and attendants of patients.

“Male attendants of a child misbehaved with lady doctors at Paeds Ward a couple of days back. DMS failed to provide security to doctors that sparked protest.”

Inefficient security, corruption of security guards especially those deputed in Gynae Ward, overcharging at parking lots, both at Emergency Wing and at OPD, are permanent source of headache, both for the management and visiting people.

“Change of newborns and kidnapping of babies speaks volumes about the security arrangements. Mismanagement and corruption is at its peak in the gynae ward. Influential paramedics prefer to perform duties at labor rooms to earn easy money. They don’t allow parents to take newborn without giving handsome amount,” said a Woman Medical Officer performing duty at Gynae Ward.

“Incidents of clash outside labor rooms between parents and money demanding staff is a routine. The management is helpless and influential staff is not ready to perform duty anywhere except labor rooms,” she added.

“Overcharging at parking lots is a routine. Representatives of contractors are charging Rs30 instead of Rs20, the amount printed on tokens. Vehicles owners are paying Rs10 extra to avoid humiliation at the hands of contractor’s men,” said Tahir Karim who was regularly visiting the hospital for the last three days to inquire after his relative admitted in the Urology Department. “They usually demand 150 per cent extra fee on the pretext that (he or she) motorist has gone outside and not to the hospital after parking the car,” he added.