The absence of radiologists at civil hospitals at Nawanshahr, Banga and Balachaur for almost a year now is proving dear not only for the poor patients but also for the infrastructure, with the machines worth lakhs of rupees lying unused.
The patients are forced to visit private health clinics or laboratories for ultrasound tests and pay hefty amounts.
According to sources, since radiologist Dr Monika Chopra was transferred to Phagwara on July 7, 2011 from Nawanshahr civil hospital, there has been no replacement. One appointment was made a week after Dr Chopra's transfer in Dr Anju Bala, but she was transferred to Kapurthala within one week. Since then, the civil hospital has failed to appoint a radiologist and the ultrasound machine has been lying locked in a room attached to the X-ray room.
Similarly, Banga civil hospital, too, has not seen a radiologist since the time the ultrasound machine was installed here. Interestingly, the machine was taken from Banga to Mansa civil hospital for a mega medical camp on November 3 and 4 and it is yet to be brought back.
The situation is no different at the Balachaur civil hospital, where the post of radiologist is lying vacant.
Seeking anonymity, an official said an ultrasound test at the civil hospital cost Rs 150, whereas private radiologists charged around Rs 500-600 per test. He said the health department had written to higher authorities in this regard many times in the past, but to no avail.
When contacted, civil surgeon Dr Amarjeet Kaur confirmed the non-availability of radiologists at Nawanshahr, Banga and Balachaur civil hospitals and assured to draw the attention of the higher authorities to the matter. She said services of private radiologists would be taken to operate the ultrasound machines for two hours at the civil hospitals, for which they will be paid Rs 250 per day. She said the ultrasound machine in civil hospital was also not functioning due to a technical snag and the service would resume from next week.