The Guru Nanak Hospital and Government Medical College, which was set up to provide health care facilities to patients, is plagued with lack of facilities. Poor infrastructure, pitiable sanitation conditions and lack of cleanliness are some of the problems which are annoying the staff of the hospital-cum-college.
Though some new blocks have been built and new diagnostic equipment has been installed at the hospital, taps continue to leak in toilets in some of the old wards. Patients have to sleep on beds which can collapse any time. The stench coming from toilets, some of which are without proper doors, reflects poor picture of the hospital, which is one of the oldest in the country.
Punjab local bodes and medical education minister Anil Joshi, whose private residence is situated just 100-metre away from the GMCA, does not seem to have time to improve conditions at the hospital.
NO FUNDS FROM GOVT
While talking to Hindustan Times, a senior doctor on condition of anonymity said the air-conditioning unit of operation theatre broke down due to which operations at the hospital remained suspended for nearly a month. Only emergency operations were carried out during that period.
"The college principal and medical superintendent didn't receive any grant from the state government to get the AC unit repaired immediately," the doctor said.
He said initially a formal demand for repair of the AC unit was generated, which was then forwarded to the hospital committee for finances. The committee after holding a meeting invited quotients and it was only after lowest bidder was chosen that the repair work was done.
"Six months have passed and the person, who repaired the AC unit, is yet to get his payment as the government treasury has not cleared his bill, the doctor said.
Another doctor pointed out that the bill of a contractor, who had served food and refreshments during the annual sports day function at the hospital and medical college in 2012, had not been passed by the treasury till date.
When contacted, college principal Santokh Singh said: "Currently, we don't have funds to carry out immediate repair or maintenance work at the hospital."
The only authority that the principal has is that he can spend a sum of Rs 40,000 without getting the approval of the finance committee. Earlier, the principal used to get Rs 10,000 and the amount was raised just two years ago.
Doctors demand complete authority on user charges
The doctors at the Government Medical College, Amritsar, (GMCA) and Guru Nanak Hospital have been demanding complete authority on the entire amount of user charges that are collected at numerous hospitals, including the Guru Nanak hospital, for services rendered.
Barring tution fee which goes to the student fund account, the money collected under other heads from the students of GCMA also goes to the user charges category.
In fact, of the total user charges collected, RS 1.2 crore is allocated annually to the Guru Nanak Hospital medical superintendent, which is not sufficient, considering the fact that it is a 1,200-bedded hospital where costly diagnostic equipment needs to be constantly repaired.
Principal Santokh Singh said: "We have written to the state government to allow us to get the hostel buildings repaired with the help of student funds, which have not been used for a very long time."
The college principal said there was an acute shortage of faculty at GCMA. There are around 400 posts of staff nurses, which are lying vacant. Besides, shortage of Class-IV staff is also troubling the hospital authorities.
"Despite several problems, we are still getting maximum number of patients as compared to other hospitals in Amritsar," Santokh said.