Complaints of misbehaviour, truant staff rife on 104 medical helpline

  • Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Oct 11, 2014 21:39 IST

Misbehaviour by medical staff, non-availability of staff and medicines in hospitals, delay in treatment by doctors and non-adherence to official timings by physicians and surgeons are some of the complaints the Punjab Health Systems Corporation has been receiving on its 104 Helpline.

Besides, the medical helpline has also received serious complaints such as illegal determination of sex, lack of proper infrastructure at hospitals and delay in issuance of birth and death certificates.

As many as 297 such complaints have been received since the non-emergency health information helpline was launched by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on June 24 this year.

The medical helpline staff has forwarded the complaints to the health department officials. The complainants are informed about the decision taken on their complaints.

Hindustan Times had filed a Right ti Information (RTI) application with the Punjab Health Systems Corporation in September in this regard.

It was also found that the helpline received complaints from all districts in Punjab with 22,454 calls since its inauguration.

Majority of callers sought counsel for hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV, hepatitis C virus, breast feeding and general health problems.

The helpline comprises one MBBS doctor, a psychologist, and 15 paramedic and GNM staff.

The callers are provided medical advice by the doctor round the clock throughout the week.

This reporter on Saturday made a call on the helpline identifying as a patient of cough and cold. After inquiring the details of illness, the helpline staff connected the line with specialised doctors who gave medical advice.

A senior health department doctor said the helpline was launched to assist people, particularly in rural and interior areas, for getting information on health problems.

He further added that objective of starting this helpline is to assist people, particularly living in villages, for seeking information on their health problems and advice from a qualified doctor.

He said most of the people in rural areas cannot afford or do not have access to regular check-ups at hospitals and the helpline helps them get medical advice with basic tips and first-aid.

This helpline also provides platform for redressal of complaints, grievances of general public against government hospitals.

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