ISLAMABAD-All head of departments (HoDs) of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) recommended suspending the Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) at hospital as a safety measure to control Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The meeting was held on Monday and HoDs of clinical departments including Psychiatry, Peads Surgery, Anaesthesia Department, Rheumatology, General Surgery, Neurology, OMFS, Orthopaedic, EN, DED, Pathology, Infectious Disease, Cardiology, Oncology and Gastroenterology attended the meeting.

Minutes of the meeting available with The Nation said that it was decided that recommendations of the consultants be submitted to Ministry of National Health Services Regulations & Coordination regarding suspension of services in OPD in best public interest for the safety and protection due to outbreak of COVID-19.

It said that furthermore to cater the load of patients in EAC, the emergency department should also be prepared accordingly. It was also decided to close the evening OPD.

According to the minutes, it was decided that the hospital staff should remain prepared for the worst and elective surgeries /admissions to be minimised.

The meeting chaired by Executive Director (ED) Anser Maxood also decided that doctors, nursing staff, ward boy and sanitary worker already working in the isolation ward and EAC may be strengthened by posting of additional staff to provide excellent health care to patients of the said department.

Documents said it was also decided that Dr. Nasim Akhtar, Assistant Professor (Infectious Diseases) may be helped in respect of posting of Assistant Professors/ Senior Registrars from medical and allied disciplines to effectively manage the pandemic situation of COVID-19.

The meeting also decided that rest/leave on medical grounds to the employees of PIMS especially Nursing Staff etc to be minimised.

It also said that N-95 masks be provided to the doctors posted in ICUs, Isolation Ward and EAC department. Hand sanitizer and surgical masks to be provided for each department of OPD.

It was also decided in the meeting that ministry of NHSR&C may be requested to install free recorded message on Universal Number 1166 (helpline) regarding protection from COVID-19.

It was also decided that patients and their attendants may be educated to stay at home.

Around 10,000 patients daily visit PIMS OPD for health care services.

Spokesperson PIMS Dr. Waseem Khawaja said that hospital administration has suggested closing the OPD, however, Ministry of National Health Services will have to approve it.

He also said that the suggestion has been made to reduce the visitors’ influx at hospital because it is dealing with the epidemic.

Dr. Waseem said that staff will remain on duty but patients’ burden will be reduced if the decision is implemented in this situation. Informing about the COVID-19 patients admitted in the hospital he said that three confirm patients are admitted in the hospital.

He also added that the female patient is also recovering despite being on the ventilator adding that so far it has not been decided to remove her from the ventilator.

Earlier, two doctors who shifted critical novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infected patient on ventilator at PIMS were also isolated. PIMS spokesperson said that the COVID-19 test of the staff was reported negative and they were discharged from the ward.

He also added that some of the departments are facing shortage of Personal Protection Equipments (PPE) especially hand sanitizers and quality facemasks.