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Public health: Vote duties cause staff shortage at hospital




Shortage of staff at Faisalabad General Hospital on account of local government elections has disrupted service at the infirmary, the medical superintendent said on Saturday.

MS Khalid Fakhar told The Express Tribune that the returning officer had assigned election duties to the entire hospital staff in State Minister Chaudhary Abid Sher Ali and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah’s constituencies.

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“They have been called in for training their duties,” he says. “We have been facing a difficult situation. We don’t have enough personnel to keep the emergency ward and the trauma centre functional.”

He said he had written a letter to the returning officer as well as the Health Department to provide temporary staff.

“If they cannot give us temporary staff, I have asked them to make a practical plan to keep the hospital open during this time,” he said. “We need staff for the operation theatre and nurses for the patients admitted overnight.”

“If doctors are out for election duties, who will do their duties at the hospitals?” he said. “This plan is not sustainable or practical.” The MS said he had not heard back from the Health Department or the returning officer.

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Zameer Hussain, an elderly patient, told The Express Tribune that his grandson had brought him to the hospital but they had to turn away because they were told that the workers were in training for their duties in local government elections. “We are going to another hospital now.”

Mahira Ali, 25, said she had brought her son to the hospital for tetanus shots after he injured himself in a cricket game. “We have been waiting here for nearly three hours. No one was at the reception desk when we arrived.”

She said several people who had come for emergency treatment had been referred to other hospitals.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.

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