The waiting period for cancer patients wanting to go for radiotherapy at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) will now be between 4-5 months instead of the three months earlier.
Reason: The institute has stopped use of its cobalt machine after the direction of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which said that the machine had outlived its life.
The machine had an important role in treatment of cancer and every day around 25 patients got radiotherapy through it.
“As this machine has crossed its expiry date of 15 years and completed 22 years, further use of it could prove dangerous,” said one of the faculty of PGI.
Now with the cobalt machine out of service, less than 100 patients would get radiotherapy at the PGI every day. Earlier, three machines including the cobalt machine, a low energy linear accelerator, and one high energy linear accelerator, facilitated around 120 cancer patients with radiotherapy daily. The ones apart from the cobalt machine treated around 50 patients each per day.
The reason for the heavy rush of cancer patients here is PGI’s reputation of having the latest equipment and trained manpower.
However, insiders say that the PGI hasn’t made any efforts for procurement of a new machine. If at all the process is started, then also it would take at least six months to procure the new machine, which would be costing around Rs. 3 crore.
HoD of Radiotherapy, Shaleen Kumar said, “Yes, the machine was too old and we have stopped using it. The process to purchase a new one would be started soon.”