The medical services in the zonal hospital here are in a state of disarray, thanks to the frequent shifting of medicos and para medical staff and lack of an adequate number of specialists almost in all departments.
This hospital was converted into a district hospital in 1972 when Hamirpur was made a district. It was upgraded as the zonal hospital in 1998 when the BJP government came to power.
Since then, the staff structure in the hospital has been the same but the number of patients, both outdoor and indoor, has gone up substantially.
Nearly one thousand patients visit the hospital daily but most of them go unattended as they are often unable to meet the doctors concerned due to the cumbersome system of preparation of prescription slips and other formalities and non-availability of the doctors.
As far as the staff shortage is concerned, there are twenty-nine sanctioned posts of medicos as against the requirement of at least forty.
The post of the skin specialist has been lying vacant for the last five years. One doctor was posted last year. However, he managed his transfer to a station of his choice using political links.
The hospital is frequented by the patients from various parts of the district and nearby areas of districts of Kangra, Mandi and Una for specialised treatment, but they find it difficult to get the needed treatment for want of the sufficient number of doctors.
There are occasions when specialist doctors are found busy either in wards or taking part in court proceedings in medico-legal cases, and there is no one to attend the patients in the OPDs.
Thus, the patients are left with no alternative but to approach private nursing homes whether they can afford them or not.
Simro Devi of Sujanpurtira, who had come for the treatment of her daughter-in-law but was not able to meet any doctor, regretted that now she would have to approach a private hospital and spend a lot of money which she could not afford.
She said if the government claimed to have posted medicos in the hospital what was the reason that none was ever found in his room.
When this reporter visited the hospital, he found that out of the three gynaecologists, one had been shifted from there and the second was on long leave and the third was, no doubt, was
performing her duties in the hospital, but at the same time she was also sparing a lot of time for proceedings in medico-legal cases in the district hospital where she was posted earlier.
Not only this, the decision of the state government to provide medicines to patients on cheap rates has also become a dream for the patients and their attendants.
The shop of the HP Civil Supplies Corporation has been lying closed for many months and patients and their attendants are forced to purchase the costly medicines from private medical stores.
When contacted, Dr PR Katwal, chief medical officer, admitting lapses, said that he had already taken up all the people-related issues with the higher authorities in Shimla for action and hoped that things would improve soon.
He, however, said that some steps had already been taken and services of private medicos were being utilised from time to attend to patients.
Dr Katwal said that patients were being advised to purchase medicines from the hospital stores and the jan aushdhi centre. He said that medicos were also being asked to prescribe such medicines as were available in jan aushdhi centres as per the directions of the state government.
Chief parliamentary secretary Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, who is the lone ruling party MLA of the district and is currently busy in election duties in Madhya Pradesh, told HT on phone that he had taken up the issue of the staff shortage at the zonal hospital here with the state government and adequate number of staff would be posted within one month.
He said that the Congress government in the state would do its best to provide all sorts of medical facilities to the people and funds would not be any problem.
CCTV cameras to be installed soon
Hamirpur: CCTV cameras would be installed in all wards, OPDs, labour room and waiting room in the zonal hospital here to keep a check on the movement of the people visiting the institution from time to time so that no unwanted persons create any problems for the hospital staff and indoor patients.
Chief medical officer PR Katwal said the step was taken after a meeting with the district administration. Katwal said the cost of cameras would be jointly borne by the district administration and the Rogi Kalyan Samiti of the hospital for its smooth running. He said the overall control of these cameras would be in the rooms of the chief medical officer and the senior medical officer. The CMO said a proposal for the installation of 20 such cameras had been cleared by the deputy commissioner and tenders for them would be floated soon.