VVIPs visit Peshawar hospital violating SOP
PESHAWAR: PTI chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and VVIPs visited the Lady Reading Hospital in the capital city to inquire after the victims of Shabqadar suicide attack on Monday.
However, the media was barred from its coverage through the standard operating procedure notified by the government in January.
The SOPs has proved media-specific.
Health workers told Dawn that journalists had accepted and adhered to the SoP but the politicians disturbed their work by visiting the hospital.
They said the visits by politicians to the LRH had increased after the issuance of the SoP with the administration busy facilitating VVIPs and VIPs on the premises.
The workers said those working in the administrative hierarchy, who were supposed to ensure treatment of the people, tried to outdo each other in getting close to VIPs.
The healthcare providers argue that presence of unnecessary people created obstacle in the medical work which could result in delay in treatment leading to deaths from preventable causes.
“We recommended to the government more than one year ago to place restrictions on all people on visiting the hospital after seriously-wounded people are brought here due to natural calamities and bomb attacks but the move has proved ineffective,” a physician said.
He said amazingly, all those who went to enquire after the patients at the province’s biggest hospital had got own photographers and reporters to be able to issue statements to press and upload the same on social media.
The physician said doctors had pinned hopes on the Medical Teaching Institutions Reform Act 2015 enforced last year by the government to run the four teaching hospitals through independent board of governors with vast powers of making decisions to replace a failed system.
He said what the government needed to do was to improve health system professionally because these visits in no way improve patients care but rather become source of harm for people who required wholesome attention.
The healthcare providers said the SoPs was aimed at ensuring uninterrupted treatment to cortically-injured people taken to the accident and emergency department of the LRH, TV crew and photojournalists weren’t allowed for coverage of Bacha University attack’s victims last month but they were disallowed today.
Others were immune to the SoP.
Health Minister Shah Ram Tarakai, who was also among visitors to the LRH, had chaired a meeting that approved the SOPs on the recommendations of LRH BoG chairman Professor Nausherwan Barki.
However, the step has so far been applied to the media alone.
Doctors, paramedics and nurses at the province, which receives most of the injured persons in the aftermath of incidents, say VVIP visits were ethically unauthorised because the administration banned entry of media people on the ground so that they effectively performed life-saving procedures on the patients but politicians created more rush.
“One TV has two people and there are about a dozen in the city but every politicians is accompanied by more than a dozen,” a nurse at the ward said.
Health workers said that the government wasn’t fully implementing the Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act 2015, which allowed the BoGs to make decisions.
“In this case, BoG wants all visits stooped but the politicians’ defiance continue at the cost of the people’s care,” a worker said.