The Punjab government's tall claims of having provided world-class health facilities at government hospitals, it seems, have fallen flat.
Sample this: To get a simple scanning test done, you will have to wait for a fortnight at the 400-bedded Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Civil Hospital here.
Patients requiring a treatment of abdominal problem or kidney infection are waiting for at least 10 days to get a basic test done. The waiting list even crosses a period of 15 days hence patients are suffering at hospital and they are forced to undergo tests at some private scanning centers on high rates. As those who are failing to visit private centres, their treatment does not start in wait of scanning test.
This is because of shortage of radiologists and scanning machines and heavy rush of patients but the health department has failed to provide any relief to visiting patients.
Around 200 X-ray tests, 100 ultrasound scans and 50 CT scans are conducted daily at the hospital.
Further, the new building of 24-hours diagnostic center in hospital also failed to open which was to offer services like X-ray, CT scan, MRI, digital X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, dexa scan - a cancer scanning procedure at an affordable government-fixed rates.
In the region, which had been witnessing spurt in the road accidents, the CT scan facility is considered to be proving very beneficial, especially for the people from the poor section of society who can't afford to go to private hospitals for conducting the test due to its high cost, whereas in government health institutions it is much cheaper but to no avail.
Posing as a patient, this correspondent also requested for an ultrasound scan but the staff at centre asked to come after 11 days for scan.
A woman, who had visited the hospital for a test, said she was given Wednesday's appointment for 10 days ago but it still took three hours to undergo test on Wednesday.
Seeking anonymity, a senior doctor told, "It is really difficult to start right treatment of patients without scan and we have to compromise with other medicines in lack of imaging test."
Doctor further added that if a patient who is suffering from abdomen pain, kidney infection, stone problem or need surgery, even he or she is being given a date of appointment after 15 days.
He also added that pregnant women have to stand into a queue for long hours or wait for a day for test which sometimes cause problem to them.
"Sometimes when a radiologist takes a leave or has to go to court case, problem multiplies," doctor added.
Radiologist Dr Satwinder Singh said, "We are only two radiologists here to deal such huge rush of patients for scanning. The government should take immediate step to appoint more radiologists here."