ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Capital Administration & Development (CADD) on Monday expressed serious concerns over non-availability of adequate medical facilities in the Federal General Hospital (FGH) Chak Shahzad Islamabad. The hospital even lacks medical, paramedical staff and many other fundamental arrangements. The committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Dr Ashok Kumar was attended by lawmakers and officials of the CADD Ministry and the FGH. They highlighted the overwhelming issues in the hospital. Briefing the committee, a director from the FGH admitted that the hospital has an acute shortage of staff which, he said, is necessary to provide all kinds of treatment in any hospital. He said that from a total of 376 sanctioned posts of different cadres in the hospital, 312 posts are filled while 64 posts are lying vacant since many years due to various reasons. “We have five sanctioned posts in BPS-19, out of them, five are vacant and one was filled. Fourteen posts are vacant of BPS-18 and the rest all are vacant,” he explained, adding that currently only 42 posts of BPS-17 are filled out of total 59 sanctioned posts. He further claimed that only 82 posts of BPS-16 are filled out of a total of 93 sanctioned posts while 11 posts of this grade are filled so far. Besides, the director said, many other positions of lower cadres could not be filled which added trouble to the smooth functioning of the hospital. He said that most of the required staff is consisted on general physicians, medical specialists and nurses. When the director was asked about the causes behind this issue, the director responded in a very interesting way. “We advertised the gazetted posts several times through Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) but no candidate could qualify the even basic written tests held by the commission,” he claimed, adding that the reason behind the failure of the test was “tough English language” used in the test questions due to which the candidates were even unable to understand “how to read the queries and what answers should be given”. In response to queries regarding facts over empty non-gazetted slot, the director maintained that the candidates against these posts also could not qualify due to tests conducted by various private test services. He requested the committee that the FPSC should be asked to relax its policy in this regard. The committee recommended that a letter would be written to FPSC chairman on behalf of the committee head by sending a copy of information to Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. In the letter, the commission would be asked why the English language is indispensible for a technical staffer like doctor. The lawmakers reaffirmed that the most fundamental purpose of formulation of health committee was to listen to the problem of a common man. “We are not concerned with how much salary of your staff is being increased. We are only concerned about how you are facilitating the public,” Senator Kalsoom Perveen said while addressing the director of the hospital. She also warned that the committee would pay a surprise visit to the hospital to check the ground realities apart from paper briefings which she is listening since four years from the same official of the hospital. The lawmakers also expressed their anger over the absence of CADD secretary and any senior official from the Capital Development Authority despite being sent prior notice regarding the meeting. Published in Daily Times, September 4th 2018.