CHAKWAL: Noticing the large number of fatal accidents on the part of the motorway which passes through the hilly terrain of the Salt Range, the Punjab government had decided to establish a trauma centre in Kallar Kahar.
However, after they had constructed the centre at a cost of Rs260 million, the government realised it had not appointed specialists for the centre and converted the new building, which is equipped with the latest equipment, into a tehsil headquarters hospital.
The project titled ‘Establishment of state-of-the-art trauma centre Kallar Kahar’, was approved by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on May 21, 2012.
The centre was to be constructed by June 2014 at a cost of Rs75.634 million. The scheme was later revised and it was decided that the centre would be provided with more facilities, which raised the cost of the project to Rs260.737 million and construction work was completed in August 2015. Other than the main building, residences for doctors and other employees were also established and modern machinery was bought and installed.
Unable to secure doctors, staff to run the state-of-the-art trauma centre, govt turns building into a THQ hospital
The provincial government thought of everything a modern trauma centre would need, except for the medical superintendents, specialists and paramedic staff to run it.
“You need specialists to run a trauma centre. But no specialists wanted to move to a small town to work in the centre, even though ads were put in the papers,” said a senior official at the Punjab Health Department.
“Why will a specialist who earns a lot in the city want to work just for a salary in a small town trauma centre,” he asked.
According to documents available with Dawn, a trauma centre needs 102 employees to become fully functional, the posts for which the Chakwal district government advertised three times in national dailies.
“Not one candidate applied for the post of medical superintendent or specialist. Many people applied for the posts of paramedic staff though,” the official said.
Doctors from Chakwal also did not show interest to work in the centre because it is located in the small town of Kallar Kahar.
“After we had tried everything to make the trauma centre functional, we decided to use the building as a THQ hospital as Kallar Kahar did not have one,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of road accident victims and patients with head injuries have to be taken to Rawalpindi, as there is no neurosurgeon in Chakwal.
“If the government wants to make the trauma centre functional, it will have to offer more attractive salaries and other incentives,” the official added.
“Chakwal is short on specialists. The various hospitals in the district need 31 specialists between them, but no one is applying for these jobs,” he said.
The district administration has also not been able to appoint the required number of doctors and paramedic staff to run a THQ hospital.
When asked, District Health Officer Mohammad Aleem Danish said that both the trauma centre and the THQ hospital will be operated in the same building.
“We have not given up on the trauma centre and the building was named ‘THQ/Trauma Centre’ and as soon as we appoint the specialists, the trauma centre will be made operational,” he said.
Mr Danish said the district administration is also trying its best to fill the posts of the new THQ hospital.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2016