They said that main reason of the referral of more patients from Chitral to other cities was lack of specialists and diagnostic facilities at the local hospital.
A senior doctor once attached with the hospital told Dawn that 15 posts of specialists and 31 posts of medical officers were vacant at the hospital. He said that the facilities and machines for CT scan, MRI and other specialised tests were not available at the hospital.
?There is no option but to refer the patients and the injured to the hospitals in Peshawar,? said the doctor. He said that on average, 50 patients were referred to Peshawar from the district in a week.
?It leads to a huge financial burden on the people to take a patient to Peshawar along with one or more attendants only for CT scan or MRI,? he said. He added that the patients of heart and eye were sent directly outside the district on first inspection at the hospital.
?The posts of eye specialists at the hospital have been vacant for the last four years. The district cardiologist was posted only for two months in the history of the hospital five years ago. The posts of radiologist, orthopedics, neurologist, gynaecologist, obstetrician and general surgeon are also vacant,? said the doctor.
More than 70 per cent patients and injured will be saved from being referred to tertiary hospitals if the vacant posts are filled and diagnostic facilities including CT scan and MRI machines are provided to the hospital.
The referral rate of injured persons is higher than that of other patients. It can be reduced by posting orthopedic surgeon at the hospital. ?Instruments are available here but owing to lack of specialist doctors sometimes a minor case of injury is sent to Peshawar,? said the doctor.
Advocate Waqas Ahmed said that during the visit of Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar to Chitral last month, the lawyers diverted his attention towards the pathetic condition of the hospital and he sought para-wise comments of the provincial secretary on their application.
He said that no government had ever evinced its earnestness to improve the condition of the hospital that catered to the needs of the whole district. He said that the sanctioned posts of specialists and medical officers at the hospital were never filled.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018