Government hospitals are the place where indigent residents rush when confronted with a medical urgency. In fact, considering the high cost of medical services provided by private hospitals, government hospitals are the final resort to a large number of people, especially poor. However, owing to the lack of amenities and staff, government hospitals are barely able to live up to the people's expectations.
Above all, some of these hospitals have become a safe haven for jail birds, who often use hospitals to flee from the jail.
As far as trauma cases are concerned; apart from Amritsar and its suburbs, a large number of patients from Gurdaspur and surrounding districts are referred to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital.
According to health officials, trauma cases coming to the hospital are close to a dozen on a daily basis, but the hospital is unable to handle all trauma cases, as it lacks specialised staff.
According to sources, there is no dedicated trauma department to deal with such cases. For smooth functioning of a trauma care facility, there required a full-fledged department comprising experts from orthopaedics, general surgery and neurosurgery; however, Guru Nanak Dev Hospital lacks it all.
Sources added that back in 1989, the government had sent an orthopaedic for a three-month specialised training to Mumbai, but an independent trauma unit was never set up.
Dr RPS Boparai, former orthopaedic surgeon at Nanak Dev Hospital, said a round-the-clock emergency service was required to deal with trauma cases. The emergency service included a trauma van, ready operation theatres, orthopaedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon and much more, he elaborated.
Ironically, the hospital never had a neurosurgeon, as there was never a neurosurgery department here.
"It's here that private hospitals score over the government hospitals,"the doctor added.
In addition, whatever is available in the name of trauma-care services and orthopaedics are managed by junior doctors, said sources, as senior doctors come to the hospital only for a short duration.
The same holds true for the cardiology department, which is also understaffed.
Besides the lack of staff and experts, the hospital is also synonymous with insanitation and unfavourable ambiance, which often finds an expression in the presence of stray dogs near the usually unmanned inquiry.
The condition of various wards of the hospital is not rosy, too, but the poor patients admitted there term it as a "haven"despite all odds.
Sources claimed that the lab facilities at various government hospitals were not impressive too, as the patients were often forced to visit private centres to get their lab tests done, which causes inconvenience to them, especially to the pregnant women, as the ultrasound machine is usually out of order here.
The condition of TB Hospital is no better either even as the numbers of TB cases are growing rapidly in the district. The sanatorium is suffering from its own share of ills such as problems in maintaining the building, which craves for renovation.
Sources said the hospital receives more than 1,300 patients annually, while around 100 patients are registered daily at the outpatient department (OPD). The facilities here, too, are in a dire need of being upgraded.
"A proposal has been sent to the Punjab government for sanctioning of the construction of a new building, besides upgrading other facilities,"said Dr NC Kajal of the TB Hospital.
At present, around 50 patients were admitted at the hospital, He added.
However, civil surgeon Dr Usha Bansal said: "The district health authorities run a 'Janani Suraksha' (maternity) programme at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital. Our department provides them with funds."
"Matters concerning to ungradation of facilities comes under the purview of director of Research and Medical Education (DRME) and the medical superintendent,"she said.