When the shortage of doctors and facilities has crippled the primary health centres, the state’s largest medical institute here, last hope of many, diagnoses its patients using condemned machines.
Every day, the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) examines nearly 6,000 patients from all districts and deals with an average of 60 emergency cases. Documents that HT has accessed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act show that 12 anaesthesia and diagnostic machines installed in the operating theatres of the emergency and general wards are of obsolete models.
A professor at the institute who provided the HT with the documents said the machines could no longer be relied upon, a thought enough to scare any patient. The documents reveal that the machines have not been replaced for want of money, even as more than `30 crore of grant to the PGIMS in the last financial year lapsed because the institute did not use the funds for any purpose.
Another financial year will end in about four months but the buying of new machines hasn’t even started, and again a budget of more than `31 crore is unused. This while the anaesthesia department is writing repeatedly to the authorities concerned for the replacement of old equipment.
Falcon, company that delivered the machines in 1997 and 2000, has declined to change the defunct parts, since the maintenance contract has expired. The company refused to change the parts even for a price, as these are no longer available on the market.
Since doctors have no alternative, the diagnostic machines are in use even after being auctioned.
Accepting that the equipment was obsolete and should be replaced urgently, institute director Dr Chand Singh Dhull said the PGIMS would get new machines under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Sewa Yojana.
“We have been waiting for it for more than two years,” he said.
On not purchasing machines from the available budget, he said this was to avoid surplus, since the central government process of delivery was near completion.