In a major setback to the emergency healthcare services in Kurali and nearby villages that have high prevalence of accidents due to a single road on national highway 21, the authorities have decided to close the emergency unit at the Kurali civil hospital after 8pm starting Monday.
The decision has been taken as the hospital was struggling to cater to patients due to shortage of staff, and will remain in effect for nearly two months till more doctors are appointed. The hospital has five posts of specialist doctors, but currently has only two.
Located on the national highway, the hospital caters to nearly 120 villages and received close to 15 emergency cases, including a couple of accident patients, every night. With the emergency services being closed from 8pm to 9am, patients would now have to visit the Kharar civil hospital, which is nearly 9km away.
In a notice pasted on the hospital walls on Monday, it was stated that the emergency will remain closed after 8pm during weekdays, and after 2pm on Sundays and gazetted holidays.
“We had no choice but to close down the emergency as we are short of doctors. It will take at least two months to resume normal operations as we have written to higher authorities to fill the vacant posts,” said Neelam Bhardwaj, civil surgeon of SAS Nagar. “We understand that the hospital was serving a large number of villages, but we are helpless. The health minister is aware of the staff shortage,” she added.
The state government had recently renovated the hospital after spending crores. Several hospital equipment, including ECG and ultrasound machines, were recently bought.
Speaking to HT, local Congress MLA Jagmohan Singh Kang said, “It is a very unfortunate decision. A large number of people will be affected with the closure. I will take up the matter with the health secretary and ensure that the unit resumes normal operations soon. If not, we will resort to protest.”