The forthcoming assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh have become a problem for the locals as VIPs land here for their onward journey to the state. As soon as a VIP arrives here, a team of five to six doctors from the local civil hospital is deputed there till the time the VIP goes back.
On Tuesday, six doctors, mostly specialists, were seen at the airport the entire day as Congress president Sonia Gandhi was on Himachal tour, while the patients kept waiting for these doctors. Some needing emergency treatment preferred private doctors.
Most VIPs visiting Himachal land at the local airport from where a helicopter takes them to various destinations and drops them back. Mostly a team of five doctors from the local civil hospital is deputed at the airport; it comprises a physician, a surgeon, an anaesthetist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a blood transfusion officer. The team spends a full day there as VIPs cover a large area in the poll-bound state.
Neeta Kumari, a patient from Kothe Manwal village, needing an emergency surgery, told HT that she had fixed an appointment with a surgeon in the hospital on Tuesday and had made all arrangements for her surgery, but when she visited the hospital she was told that the surgeon had been put on VIP duty. "I had even invited my sister who lives in Haryana to look after my kids. VIPs must have separate doctors, why should they engage our doctors," she said.
SMO Dr Vijay Nijhawan admitted having sent a team of five doctors as per protocol. He said that for a VIP visiting a place near Pathankot the team had to be despatched to meet any emergency. He refused to comment on the inconvenience to the patients.