Objectives: To determine the nature of the services provided by Medical Social Work units in Punjab and the satisfaction level of the service beneficiaries and to uncover the level of effectiveness of these services in healthcare field in Punjab.
Methodology: A multi-stage sampling strategy was used as Random Stratified-Purposive sampling method. Out of 110 hospitals in Punjab where Medical Social Work units have been established, 50% hospitals (55/110) were selected randomly by using lottery method. From each hospital, one Medical Social Officer, one Medical Superintendent and three service beneficiaries (2 male & 1 female) were selected by using stratified (sex-wise) purposive sampling method.
Results: All Medical Social Work units were not delivering the same services except distribution of free medicines purchased through Zakat and Bait-ul-Mall funds. Not a single unit was providing all the mandated services given in PC-1, except "provision of free medicines". Social, emotional or psychological as well as rehabilitative services were not being provided to the patients. About 87% Medical Superintendents disagreed that the existing services of Medical Social Work units are effective in healthcare field.
Conclusion: The Medical Social Work units in Punjab have become "medicines distribution centers" and mandated psycho-social and rehabilitative services have not been provided.
Key words: Health, medical social work, Punjab, Pakistan.