Ashok Kumar, a migrant worker, was running high fever and was waiting for his turn to get a bed in the dengue ward of the government-run Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here. As the bed was not available, the hospital authorities asked him to arrange one for himself.
Ashok’s brother Manoj, who was accompanying him, had no option but to get a cot on rent from a vendor at hospital’s parking. He had to pay Rs 1,000 as security besides a rent of Rs 50 per day. Ashok, who was admitted to the hospital five days ago, was discharged on Saturday.
Another patient, Amar Kaur of Beas, who visited the hospital on Friday, was told that all beds were occupied in the medicine ward. Her daughter-in-law, Kulbir Kaur, then got a bed on rent from a vendor. A visibly upset Kulbir said: “I am disappointed. No one cares for a patient. It is difficult for me to do everything alone. I have paid Rs 1, 000 as security for a cot and will have to pay Rs 50 per day as rent. The hospital staff didn’t even provide a bed sheet. People come here to get affordable treatment, but it does not even have sufficient number of beds.”
Denying that there was shortage of beds at the hospital, medical superintendent Ram Sarup Sharma said: “The problem is that the patients outnumber the beds at the hospital. We have 900 beds in all and it all depends on the patients’ rush.”
Kamlesh Kaur of a village near Gurdaspur, who was sitting outside the gynaecology ward said: “We brought two beds from home. They (hospital staff) don’t allow us to sit inside the ward.” Amarjit Singh Nagli, who was accompanying Kamlesh, complained of lack of seating arrangements for attendants.
“We purchased a bed instead of depositing Rs 1,000 as security and then paying Rs 50 per day. We got it at Rs 800,” said Satnam Singh of Talwindi village near Amritsar.
Lakwinder Singh, who was accompanying his ailing father Rajbir Singh of Verka said: “We needed two beds. So, we brought one from our home and took another on rent.”
A vendor, who gives beds on rent, told HT that at least 10 patients visit him on a given day, but most of them return as they are not able to deposit the security.