The patients are a harried lot in the absence of infrastructure and shortage of staff at the ESI dispensary number 3, Focal Point Ludhiana. Every Monday and Tuesday, on an average nearly 700 patients visit the hospital, but it is so apathetic that there are only two doctors to entertain these patients.
Functioning from the past 30 years, the dispensary lacks sitting arrangements for the patients, who can be seen standing in long queues at slip counter and then outside the doctors' room. At the entrance of dispensary, congress and wild grass, broken road and dust welcomes the patients and their attendants.
Besides, 50 % staff shortage is also one of the reasons behind the problems that are being faced by the patients every day.
Narinder Kumar, a diabetes patient, said, “Today, I visited the dispensary for the fourth time to apply for my treatment claim. During the past three visits, the officials dilly-dallied the work. Even, we are being forced to buy medicines from outside the dispensary.”
Kumar is working in a factory and pays installment from his salary for the health service by Employee's State Insurance Corporation.
“The patients are generally misguided here. When we pay for the treatment from our salaries, the authorities should ensure that we don't have to face any problem. Though, we have ESI cards, the staff still asks us to show eligibility documents for treatment,” Kumar said.
Kumar said, “I appeal to the authorities that the staff should be more patient and friendly. They should not harass patients and the treatment should be given first, and other formalities should be completed afterwards.”
Another visitor, Sushil Kumar, said, “The patients have to always stand in long queues, as there is no seating arrangement here. Even, the staff treats the patients rudely and the treatment is also not given properly.”
“Though the patients have their smart cards, they are still harassed in name of documentation process,” he alleged.
He said, “The process for treatment should be made easier and the government should pay attention towards the infrastructure.
The dispensary has no provision of proper toilets and availability of drinking water for patients. Some visitors also used to urinate on dispensary premises, which emit foul smell. The people can also be seen sitting on floors in absence of seating arrangements. The windows of the dispensary are broken and cobwebs can be seen on the ceilings and walls.
What SMO says
Senior medical officer Dr Rupinder Kaur denied the allegations and claimed that the patients are being treated well at the dispensary. She said patients don't have to face any problem here. She said currently two doctors were working, while two posts had to be filled.
She said they were not having funds to make seating arrangements. “We have written to the higher authorities about the condition. Two posts of clerk are also vacant, but a Class four employee issues counter slips to the patients.”
ESI dispensaries director Dr HS Bali could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.