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Allahabad: Healthcare at SRN hospital is gasping for breath

The 800-bed hospital is chronically short of staff, medicines and equipment.

cities Updated: Sep 07, 2017 15:23 IST
Smriti Malaviya
Smriti Malaviya
Hindustan Times, Allahabad
Healthcare,SRN hospital,Allahabad

Like any other hospital in Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad’s Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital is well equipped with all infrastructure and facilities only on papers.

In reality, healthcare at the biggest referral hospital of the region is gasping for breath.The 800-bed hospital is chronically short of staff, medicines and equipment.

In such circumstances, while the patients come to the hospital with a hope, it is some miracle that treats them more than doctors and drugs.

“Equipment are there but they may not be functioning. If regular staff is skilled and efficient, there are contractual ones who never get paid on time. Alarmingly, like it happened at Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital, the oxygen supplier’s dues also get delayed,” an official said, summing up the state of affairs of the hospital associated with the Moti Lal Nehru Medical College (MLNMC).

What ails SRN Hospital
  • At least 3-4 orthopaedic surgeries are being postponed daily in OT-1 as one of the basic equipment for administering anaesthesia, Boyle’s machine, is lying out of order for the last two months.
  • There is only one ultrasound machine due to which patients have to wait for 2-3 days to get their test done at nominal rates. In emergency case, they have to get tests done from outside.
  • Payment to nurses, class IV employees, liftmen and the staff appointed on contract basis is often delayed due to non-availability of budget.
  • Payment to the company supplying oxygen cylinder also sometimes gets delayed but it is managed at the local level due to which the supply has never stopped at the hospital.
  • The hospital faces shortage of medicines, cotton and bandages round the year.
  • MLNMC does not have approved post of sanitation workers due to which cleanliness of wards is still a major issue.
  • As there is insufficient number of ward boys, attendants of patients can be seen pulling stretchers and wheelchairs for taking patients to their wards.

Set up in 1961, the last major expansion work carried out at the hospital was the construction of super-specialty wing under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

Union minister of health JP Nadda laid the foundation stone of the super-specialty wing on December 21, 2016.

“Eight super-specialties will function in the wing which will become functional by January-February 2018,” said principal, MLNMC, Dr SP Singh.

The departments that will function in this wing include neurosurgery, neurology, nephrology, endocrinology, urology, burn and plastic surgery, cardiothoracic vascular surgery and onco surgery. The entire project is worth around Rs 150 crore of which Rs 120 crore was to be given by the Centre and Rs 30 crore by UP government.

Recently, the Central government released Rs 62 crore for construction of the building. The principal said the state was yet to give its share in the project.

The trauma centre, the construction of which started around 10 years ago, will start functioning by the last week of September.

Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital, Allahabad. (HT Photo)

State of medical equipment

MLNMC recently acquired the latest MRI and CT scan machine.

To run the facility smoothly, MLNMC installed separate power line and generator back up facility. It received Rs 42.75 lakh from the state government for installing 250KVA power connection and two new generators for CT scan and MRI machine. However, if any equipment goes out of order it takes months to repair it.

For instance, 3-4 orthopaedic surgeries are daily being postponed these days in OT-1 as one of the basic equipment for administering anaesthesia, Boyle’s machine, is lying out of order for the last two months.

“We have written to the principal several times for the repair of the machine. It is one of the most basic equipment of the OT,” said Dr DC Srivastava, head of the orthopaedic department.

“Due to the non-functional machine, we are able to conduct only 2-3 operations daily on those patients who need to administer regional anaesthesia. Earlier, we were operating 8-10 patients. Due to delay in surgery many patients also suffer from complications and their hospital cost increases. We get a large number of trauma patients,” he said.

Surgeries at the department remained affected for a long period of time after its C-Arm machine developed technical snag. The department finally got a new C-Arm machine for the advanced orthopaedic surgeries, after over one-and-a-half years of waiting in August 2016.

The old C-Arm machine at the orthopaedic department was lying out of order since long due to which at least a dozen patients of spinal cord damage, fractures, hip and lower surgery were turned away every month.

Meanwhile, MLNMC is all set to acquire a new digital X-ray machine.

Allahabad district magistrate Sanjay Kumar has also forwarded a proposal for two new ultrasound machines before the Ardh Kumbh Mela. Presently, there is only one ultrasound machine due to which patients have to wait for 2-3 days to get their test done at nominal rates. In emergency case, they have to get tests done from outside.

Payment issue

Payment to nurses, class IV employees, liftmen and the staff appointed on contract basis is often delayed due to non-availability of budget. While the regular employees get salary on time, the contractual workers have to wait for 2-3 months to get their dues.

“Delay in payment to these workers happens due to shortage of funds but we somehow manage to adjust it from other heads for the smooth functioning of the hospital,” the principal said.

Payment to the company supplying oxygen cylinder also sometimes gets delayed but it is managed at the local level due to which the supply has never stopped at the hospital. The oxygen supply company is reportedly owned by former MLA Ashok Kumar Bajpai, father of BJP MLA Harshwardhan Bajpai.

Shortage of medicines

The hospital faces shortage of medicines, cotton and bandages round the year. Critical patients are provided emergency and life-saving drugs for the first 24-58 hours after which they are asked to get medicines from open market.

“We have to request patients to arrange medicines from outside as it is not possible to provide all medicines to hundreds of patients from the hospital,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

Staff crunch

MLNMC does not have approved post of sanitation workers due to which cleanliness of wards is still a major issue. As there is insufficient number of ward boys, attendants of patients can be seen pulling stretchers and wheelchairs for taking patients to their wards.

“We need at least 100 ward boys and as many safai karamcharis. We have also sent a proposal to the government for creating a permanent post for these workers so that they can be made accountable for their work. To manage service, we have to appoint some workers on contract basis,” the principal added.

The posts of faculty members, however, have been adequately filled as per the MCI norms.

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Research of national, international repute

The latest research paper by principal, MLNMC and director of Regional Institute of Ophthalmology on ocular surface diseases was published in the International Journal of Ophthalmic Pathology.

It highlights the disorders of the surface of the cornea like dry eye syndrome, rosaceous, allergies, scarring from glaucoma medications, chemical burns, thermal burns etc which often go undiagnosed but can severely affect eyesight and quality of life.

A research paper on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis was published in the International Journal of Contemporary Medicines. The research was done by Dr Shirish Chandra.

Another interesting research paper was published in Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology on extracting live freely floating cyst from interior chamber of the eyes.

Research work was also done on eyelid trauma and its management which was also published in International Journal of Ocular Oncology and Oncoplasty. There are no separate funds for research work at the medical college and departments conduct research on their own.

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 15:23 IST