PESHAWAR: Even though Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) is one of the biggest and most well-equipped hospitals in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it is vastly under-equipped and has only half the resources it needs, an LRH official told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
Almost every division in the province has a tertiary hospital, yet most residents believe LRH offers the best treatment. It is almost always flooded with patients and their attendants, no matter how serious or insignificant the case or the injury might be.
The official requesting anonymity said this causes problems not only for the LRH staffers who are almost always overworked, but also places a burden on the hospital’s limited resources.
The hospital has 1,749 beds in 37 different wards, and the out-patient department sees over 3,200 people daily. Over 5,000 patients visit the accident and emergency department, bringing the total to over 8,000 visitors every day.
“This is the main issue —the most important one— that needs to be addressed in the board of governors meeting. And it needs to be addressed on a war-footing,” said one of the senior health experts currently working at LRH. He requested anonymity as he is not allowed to talk to the media.
Story of the rented beds
Recently, some people were seen carrying beds they had rented for patients admitted at the facility. This raised questions about the hospital despite it being an autonomous facility.
“Earlier the hospital was run by the health ministry. Resources at the time were not enough but since the hospital became autonomous, people should not need to rent beds,” said the health expert. He added LRH is still overburdened.
To accommodate the influx of patients, LRH management is building more departments, he said. “However, it should first increase the capacity of the existing departments.”
LRH Medical Director Dr Amir Ghaffur was contacted, however, he refused to comment since only the public relation officers could speak to the media.
LRH PRO Jamil Shah said there was an acute shortage of space at the hospital since people from across the province consider LRH the first and last destination.
“We are trying our best to accommodate everyone but we get more patients than the number of beds at hand.” Shah said people started to bring rented beds and placed them wherever they found a spot.
He added according to the rules, people cannot place their own beds in LRH wards. “However, the administration feels its hands are tied as we have to provide health care no matter what,” he said.
Deal with the influx
Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) has imposed a ban on rented beds. PRO HMC Tauheed Zulfiqar said the hospital maintained 29 departments and accommodated around 1,054 patients. “We don’t have space for extra beds in our wards,” said Zulfiqar. HMC has however increased both OPD and admission fees. Almost half the patients admitted to HMC are from the tribal areas. Khyber Teaching Hospital has a different way of dealing with the influx of patients. “We have extra beds and whenever we are overburdened, we use them,” KTH PRO Farhad Khan said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.