Election duties of doctors disturb functioning of KMC hospitals

KARACHI:Medical and Health Services Department of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has been facing problems to run its 13 major health facilities of Karachi as about 1500 employees including doctors, nurses and administrative staff are assigned election duties, sources at KMC told PPI on Monday.

The staff of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, Sarfraz Rafiqui Shaheed Hospital, Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, Landhi Medical Complex, Spencer Eye Hospital, Landhi Cardiac Centre, Shah Faisal Cardiac Centre, Homeopathic Hospital Nazimabad, Leprosy Hospital Manghopir, Gazdarabad Maternity and General Hospital (GMGH) and other healthcare facilities have been asked to get training by Election Commission of Pakistan to perform duties in upcoming general elections as presiding officers and senior assistant pressing officers.

Although, hospitals are considered essential service which provides health facilities to people round the clock including catering emergencies, and conducting surgeries but Election Commission of Pakistan and KMC have approved names of about 1500 employees including 500 doctors, 300 nurses and 700 other staff for training to perform election duties, said the sources.

Some major hospitals of Karachi have been already facing shortage of doctors, nurses, paramedical and administrative staff as no new hiring was done in last seven years in KMC-run health facilities. However, this new development has created problems for almost all KMC hospitals as a large number of their employees are asked to get election training, which has been already started.

In this connection, Landhi Medical Complex administration has written a letter to Medical and Health Services Department requesting for exemption of their staff from the election duties or training. They said out of 30 doctors in this health facility 25 were assigned for training and election duties.

Similarly, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital management has also approached the KMC’s Medical and Health Services Department for giving exemption to doctors, nurses and administrative staff from election duties.

They stated that ASH is 950-beded largest teaching hospital run by KMC, catering thousands of patients in its OPDs also. Furthermore, its Accident and Emergency department caters emergency patients round the clock.

The sources said that being a major hospital, the ASH is also put on high alert by the higher authorities during emergencies like spread of epidemic diseases, rain emergencies, problems related to gatherings in connection with political processions and even election specific healthcare needs of people. They said election duties or training of doctors, nurses and others staff for general election may disturb smooth functioning of this major hospital.

Medical and Health Services Department has also officially approached Mayor Karachi, Election Commission of Pakistan, Regional Election Commission, District Election Commission and Deputy Commissioner West to exempt doctors, nurses and other staff from training and election duties, said the sources.

Senior Director, Medical and Health Services, KMC, Dr Birbal was not available for comment.