The sensational murder inside the district hospital in Bhind on Wednesday has exposed the security at government hospitals in Madhya Pradesh.
There are many weak links in the security of the government hospitals like deployment of private security guards without any arms, multiple entry points into the hospital premises, poor implementation of the Madhya Pradesh Doctor Protection Act, lack of CCTVs and so on, said doctors and health officials who spoke to HT.
The Bhind district hospital where the incident occurred had five private security guards on duty at the time of the incident.
Because they were not armed, they couldn’t confront the armed person who shot dead another person, said sources.
Civil surgeon Bhind Dr KK Dixit said that murder inside the district government hospital raised many questions about the overall security scenario of the hospitals.
"In this part of the world, people coming to hospital with their weapons, is a common sight, but a dangerous trend. We have decided to write a letter to the Collector Bhind and health department that carrying weapons of any kind, even if they are licensed, should be banned on the hospital premises," he said, adding that they have 16 guards who work in three shifts, but being unarmed, they can’t ensure anybody’s security in the time of crisis.
There have been many violent incidents inside hospitals here, like thefts, stealing of newborns and beating of doctors in the emergency wings, said health officials.
With heavy influx of people to the hospitals here, the hospital administrators find it impractical to check all people entering their premises.
Hamidia Hospital of Bhopal alone gets around 2,000 patients in the OPD on an average daily, whereas JP Hospital receives around 1,200 patients in the OPD daily.
When HT spoke to Hamidia Hospital medical superintendent Dr DK Pal, he said the security of the hospitals needs to be taken seriously due to increasingly vulnerability these days.
"Our hospital has five entry points, so entry points need to be lessened. Being a big hospital, we need to have more CCTVs here, which should be of better quality and should have a backup of at least one to two months. Our CCTVs have a backup of just seven to 10 days. Second, trained and armed security guards need to be deployed. If you cannot arm all, at least a few guards should be armed. Third, there should be a counsellor in the emergency wing who can explain to the angry family members when a patient dies or something goes wrong about what actually happened. Mostly junior doctors get beaten up by the angry relatives as things are not properly communicated," he said.
However, JP Hospital medical superintendent Dr Anil Shukla said that the main reason that doctors in the hospitals were not feeling safe was because of poor implementation of the doctors protection act.
"Even when doctors are beaten up and attacked, the accused are not booked under the doctors protection act. So people have got emboldened and they think they can get away with attacking a doctor on duty.
"Also, better security agencies should be given the contract of hospital security. The guards should be trained and some of them should have weapons," he said.
Madhya Pradesh Nursing Home Association Bhopal unit president Dr Umesh Sharda, who runs Sharda hospital said that government hospitals need to follow the management style of big corporate hospitals.
"There should be pass system for attendants, visiting timings should be strictly enforced, number of attendants that can be with the patient should be limited and so on. Such changes lessen the chaos at hospitals, enhance security and give doctors better space to treat and look after the patients," he said.