Ramazan establishes proper referral system in health sector
Like every year, this year too Ramazan has established a proper referral system in health sector that according to health experts is need of the time to get maximum output from healthcare facilities particularly at teaching hospitals in town.
Because of the absence of proper referral system in health sector, not only thousands of residents in Rawalpindi division have to suffer but the reputation of teaching hospitals also remains at stake. It is a great concern for health experts that the government s proposed referral system is not being followed properly in result of which tertiary healthcare facilities have to bear extraordinary burden unnecessarily.
Throughout the year, it is witnessed that majority of the population living in peripheries does not report at primary and secondary healthcare facilities including basic health units (BHUs), rural healthcare centres (RHCs) and tehsil headquarters hospitals instead they prefer to come directly to a teaching hospitals due to which the tertiary care hospitals are being over-utilised while primary and secondary healthcare set-ups under-utilised.
Health experts say that consultants at the tertiary care hospitals have to consume much of their energy on OPD patients with mild problems that certainly affect their performance. Also a bulk of hospitals budget is spent on treatment of patients that can easily be facilitated at primary or secondary healthcare facilities.
The holy month of Ramazan, however, has brought a change in pattern of patients influx at the three teaching hospitals including Benazir Bhutto Hospital , Holy Family Hospital and District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital.
During Ramazan, the teaching hospitals have witnessed nearly 50 per cent decrease in influx of patients reaching their Outpatient departments apparently because majority of patients from peripheries have not been coming to tertiary healthcare facilities for treatment of significantly mild health problems.
A number of health experts say that a group of patients is habitual of coming to teaching hospitals for the problems even for mild ones that can easily be treated at primary healthcare facilities. Awareness should be created among public in peripheries that primary and secondary healthcare facilities have been established to resolve their health issues and only if needed, they should come to teaching hospitals, say health experts.
During Ramazan, most of the patients go to a healthcare facility nearest to their residence and only in case of serious problems, they reach teaching hospitals that automatically results in filtration of patients and establishment of a proper referral system.
According to data collected by The News , the teaching hospitals are receiving small number of patients from far flung areas including Gujar Khan, Taxila, Kallar Syedan, Kahuta or Chakwal these days and the patients coming from peripheral destinations are mostly those who really need treatment at a teaching hospital.
Health experts believe that an automatic referral system is established every year during Ramazan and the concerned authorities should make it possible to maintain referral system in routine to get maximum output from tertiary healthcare facilities, the teaching hospitals.
Concerned authorities should take steps to develop a proper system under which a patient should first report to nearest diagnostic centre and if required, he should be referred to a tertiary care hospital.