Staffers of the Sehore district hospital can no longer play truant or shrug off their responsibility towards patients.
Allegations of irregularities at the government hospital have spurred Sehore collector Sudam Khade to install CCTV cameras at doctors’ chambers, outpatient departments and other areas of the establishment. Khade has also linked his mobile phone to the CCTV cameras, so he can gain direct access to the footage.
While the new arrangement has drastically improved the functioning of the hospital, not everybody is happy. “Earlier, many doctors – especially those on night duty – would not turn up at all. But they are being more careful now. Some of the staffers have even sought voluntary service retirement on account of the increased surveillance. But the patients are faring a lot better,” said BK Chaturvedi, a doctor.
However, when HT visited the hospital, things seemed far from perfect. The air conditioners at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) were nonfunctional, and people could be seen sleeping outside its premises. The women and children wards were overcrowded, with each bed accommodating three patients at a time.
Khade said the situation at the hospital was even worse before he intervened. “We have been trying to set things right for a long time now. At least this helps me identify who is at fault. Earlier, people would complain to me that doctors weren’t ready to treat them despite being present at the hospital… such a possibility is ruled out now,” he added.
The collector is also credited with speeding up the construction of a new district hospital with better facilities. “Due to certain issues, work on the new hospital was delayed by 18 months. However, it’s going on schedule now, and we hope to inaugurate the new hospital in less than a month,” Khade said.
Until now, major accident cases were not taken up at the district hospital due to a staff crunch emanating from rampant absenteeism. The new unit, however, will have a specialised trauma centre for treating accident cases. The collector’s surveillance initiative, on the other hand, is expected to keep the hospital staffers on their toes.
(With inputs from Mahendra Thakur)