If you have children already and expecting another baby, the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32 will not give you any treatment or assistance. Doctors in outdoor patient department (OPD) there plainly refuse to entertain women who are pregnant again, and ask them to go to the Sector-16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital or the health centre in Sector 22.
This practice - all referrals verbal, with no record on your OPD card - is being carried out for months now, in times when the health ministry is giving various incentives to promote deliveries in hospitals.
One justification is that the hospital is overburdened. Sources said these 'referrals' are being done without any official record or order of the director or the medical superintendent, and particularly for those whose earlier child was delivered without complications. For instance, a 31-year-old woman from Ambala, who is expecting her third child, was asked to go to some other hospital; she said she had faced the same problem when she was expecting her second child.
A doctor from the GMCH department of obstetrics and gynaecology, wishing not to be named, acknowledged that the practice was being followed for quite some time. "The hospital has started getting critical patients, but the number of beds is much less than the number of patients. So it's difficult," she said.
This is being done despite the fact that the GMSH-16 is also under immense pressure, actually performing more deliveries than the GMCH-32.
Significantly, to control the infant mortality rate, the union ministry of health and family welfare has been making efforts to promote institutional (hospital) deliveries. Even a scheme, Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), was started in government hospitals in June 2011 under which mothers and children are entitled to cashless treatment. The GMCH has that scheme.
When contacted, Dr AK Janmeja, medical superintendent of GMCH, passed the buck: "I don't know about any such thing. The head of the gynae department will have some information on the issue." But the phone of gynae department head Dr Anju Huria was switched off.
The bed-patient ratio in the gynae dept at GMCH is a pathetic 10:16. According to the hospital data of last year, around 13,000 patients were admitted in the department for various treatments; around 5,000 deliveries took place. But there are just 70-odd beds.