The government hospital here, which receives more than 20 accident cases on an average every month, has no emergency medical officer (EMO) threatening lives of those who require immediate medical help.
The state government has so far not approved the post, which is a must in any hospital.
The hospital caters to a population of nearly 1.5 lakh people in Machhiwara and villages around, and receives nearly 90 cases of delivery alone every month, but it also neither has adequate staff nor facilities. Consequently, most of the patients are referred to Ludhiana civil hospital and elsewhere.
To make matters worse, there are only five doctors posted at the hospital, and they, too, come in shifts, leaving patients in the care of only two doctors at a time.
Adequate staff and facilities at the hospital are vital as it is located close to the Chandigarh-Ludhiana state highway, which is one of the most dangerous roads in the state, considering the large number of accidents reported on it.
Surjit Singh, a resident of Machhiwara, said the hospital did not even have enough stock of medicines.
“Also, in violation of norms, doctors do not provide us free medicines, and ask patients to purchase medicines from outside. This burdens the underprivileged patients,” Singh said.
He added that lack of doctors overburdened other doctors, leaving patients at the receiving end.
Hospital medical officer Dr Sanjay Kapoor said against the allocated staff of 22 officials, the hospital had only 18, adding that only one pharmacist was serving the hospital, which had provision for four.
“We only have infrastructure to treat minor ailments. Therefore, critical patients are referred to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, or Ludhiana civil hospital,” Kapoor said.
Another resident Naresh Kumar said the state government had paid no attention to the historic city of Machhiwara as far as the health sector was concerned, and as a result, many patients of the town and nearby villages were forced to go to other places for treatment.
“It seems that the health department of the state government has closed it eyes towards towns and villages of Punjab,” Kumar rued.