Friday, July 3, 2009

District, taluk-level hospitals lack basic facilities

District, taluk-level hospitals lack basic facilities
District, taluk-level hospitals lack basic facilities

The wards of KR Puram General Hospital lie empty as none prefers to come here for treatment owing to lack of facilities
Express Features
First Published : 01 Jul 2009 08:26:30 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Jul 2009 11:58:39 AM IST

BANGALORE: Merely introducing new schemes or delivering sugarcoated speeches that make big promises will not help improve services at city-based district or taluk-level hospitals. These hospitals are paralysed by severe infrastructure deficiency, staff crunch and dearth of basic healthcare facilities.

Unless the health and family welfare department decides to take a closer look at the district and taluk-level general hospitals, which are the only hope for the poor and middle class citizen, there is no hope for them.

Expresso visited some such hospitals to take a closer look. The health and family welfare department comprises more than 30 primary health centres, three taluka-level general hospital in Yalenka, Anekal, KR Puram and three major hospitals in Bangalore urban.

Taluk-level hospitals

All the taluka-level general hospitals in Yelahanka, Anekal, KR Puram comprises 100 beds which receive around 300 to 500 patients every day. Interestingly, the prevalence of the ten plus one system shows that in these hospitals, if one case is attended by a number of doctors, the other is deprived of any access.

Each specialty has one doctor in these hospitals. According to the doctors here, 25-30 gynecology cases are received every day and more than 120 deliveries are done a month. But there is only a single gynecologist post in these hospitals.

“If the gynaecologist works round the clock, he/she is not able to attend her duty the next day or if he/she is case of leave, most of the cases are sent back.

There is a dire need of gynecologists in the taluk-level hospitals as it is not possible for a single doctor’s find it difficult to handle the work pressure. The health and family welfare department should contemplate increasing the number of posts at least to two or three,” said Dr Murlidhar, senior specialist at General Hospital.

The Perumal health secretary said, “Filling of the sanctioned post is in the pipeline. The department has also requested the chief minister to expedite the procedure.” On being asked about the other basic infrastructural facilities, he added, “The allocation of fund is very less the department.” Most of the offices of the health department are affected by the irregular power supply, so much so that even doctors in the operation theatre have to stop the operating midway. “The irregular power supply has become common phenomenon these days. We have only one generator but frequent power cuts have made the lives miserable especially the patients in the operation theatre. We literally have to stop the operation when the diesel gets over,” he aded. These hospitals are also facing acute water shortage.

Even if the staff needs some repair work to be done in the hospital, the PWD department takes at least six to eight months to complete it. Such work environment tell negatively on the doctors.

Currently, there are no blood banks in these hospitals and there is only one ambulance.

If these hospitals refer emergency labour cases to Vani Vilas Hospital, it usually takes at least two hours to for the ambulance to reach there. If other cases come up in between, the ambulance is unavailable.

District level hospitals

Recently the Gousha Hosptial, one of the major district hospitals under the health and welfare department, made news. The surprise visit of health department officials opened a can of worms. It was found that drugs and syringes in is stock had crossed expiry dates, an ECG machine was missing, and there were several complaints about doctors and paramedical staff who demanded money from patients for medical services.

The health department has issued suspension orders to medical staff and the senior specialist of the hospital. The other district general hospitals located in Malleswaram and Jayanagar lack proper sanitation, drugs and water supply.


Lack of monitoring mechanism

Though the health and family welfare department has launched in-sourcing of the specialists scheme under National Rural Health Mission, wherein the hospital can seek help of private hospitals for life-saving anestheasists and emergency maternal obstretician care at the time of surgery, owing to the lack of basic infrastructure, the doctors are not usually keen on service in general hospitals.

A senior health official in the department stated that there is a lack of proper marketing of these schemes in the hospitals.

Absence of HR management

There is no accountability of the doctors on duty. Sometimes the patients are left unattended.

A senior official on condition of anonymity told Expresso that there are doctors who have gone abroad for advanced studies but the attendance register does not have any record of their absenteeism.

Hence, they are getting salaries from the department without rendering services.

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