SWAT - It is deplorable to note that the government is spending millions of rupees on health, but there is neither staff nor any facilities available in hospitals.

It is almost for the poor who depend on government hospitals to get good medical treatment. Recently, this correspondent visited casualty and orthopaedic wards of Saidu Teaching Hospital in Swat and found that their condition and quality of the care provided to public was appalling. There was no proper arrangement for cleanliness while insects and cats were seen outside the wards.

The terrible stench from the toilets and inside the wards could be smelt and condition of cleanliness was very disappointing. On visiting orthopaedic ward, a few patients were noticed waiting for the on-duty doctor who was late.

When, this correspondent showed his identity the doctor came out from a room inside the ward.

The on-duty doctor examined the patients and instructed them to buy medicines from private medical stores. When he was asked why these patients were not provided with medicines, he replied they were not available in the hospital.

Private hospitals are beyond the reach of the people and this leaves them with no option but to visit government hospitals which have no funds while the doctors do not care about dignity of their profession.

One Sultan Muhammad, 41, having medical file in his hands, told this correspondent that there are no proper medical facilities. I went to the office of the medical superintendent for help, but he had not been available since morning.

Sultan Muhammad said, “I have come from Upper Swat; my daughter is admitted to Saidu Central Hospital, but hasn’t been provided with proper medical facilities while behaviour of the staff towards patients is very improper.”

Brekhna Bibi said, “I need the approval of the MS to get medicines, but he is absent from his duty.”

A member of civil society, Yaseen Akbar, said that if the MS of the district hospital shows irresponsibility, how lower staff of the hospital can perform their duty in true spirit. He demanded the provincial government to take stern action against the MS and other officials.

It is pertinent to mention here that this correspondent waited for seven days to get Medical Superintendent Dr Maqsood’s version over mismanagement in Saidu Teaching Hospital, but he neither responded to calls made to his cell phone number nor did he reply to the text messages forwarded to him.

When contacted, Saidu Teaching Hospital Chief Executive Dr Taj Muhammad Khan said, “I admit there are a number of deficiencies in our hospital. I myself gave a detailed presentation on Swat hospitals, including lack of staff and other major issues, to Chief Minister Pervaz Khattak who promised that the provincial government would sort out the issues soon.

The people of Swat have urged the authorities concerned to take notice of the problems being faced by the general public in the government hospitals.