No new patients admitted since DecemberUpdated: Jan 15, 2020 00:29 IST
Amid the dispute between the Wadia hospitals in Parel and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over funding, the number of patients seeking treatment at the hospitals has dipped.
Since December, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital have not been admitting new patients. Child deliveries at the maternity hospital have dropped by 20% and new patients are being directed to the nearby King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital. Only 30% of the 155 beds in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the children’s hospital are currently occupied.
The BMC is responsible for paying 85% of the funds to run the hospital, but it has frozen the payment, accusing the hospital of financial mismanagement. The hospital claims the corporation owes them around ₹136 crore, a figure the BMC has disputed. On Tuesday, the BMC promised to release ₹22 crore to the hospital to help them stay afloat, until they come up with a permanent solution. The state has also agreed to pay ₹24 crore to the hospital. The hospital, however, said the amount was insufficient as they have to pay staff salaries and medicine and equipment vendors.
“On Monday, the BMC raised the issue of dual salaries [earned by senior staff who serve both hospitals], but in today’s meeting, the officials said they don’t have any problem with it. Until the issues are sorted, we have to keep a check on the number of patients we admit,” said a senior officer from the hospital.
In a statement released by the hospital, the spokesperson said, “We are hopeful that after today’s discussion with Uddhav Thackeray and all present during the meeting that all pending contribution from the state government and BMC will be soon received. ”
Meanwhile, employees who haven’t received their salaries for December are hoping for a quick solution. Anita Mishra, who has been working as a nurse with the hospital for more than 20 years, said, “I have borrowed money from my relatives to pay my house rent. My family members have been insisting that I join a private hospital, but we have seen how the doctors here help save lives every day. We have decided to continue with our duties.”
“The hospital was started to help the poor. On a daily basis, we get over 1,000 people every day due to tertiary-level healthcare facilities. But now, because of the dispute, they are being refused admission and the admitted patients have been asked to buy medicines from outside,” said Prakash Reddy, general secretary, Laal Bavta Vahtuk Kamgar Union, which represents the Wadia hospital staff.
Besides the specialised treatment, the hospital has become home to several patients. In 2013, a pair of conjoined twins was abandoned by their parents. The hospital has not only adopted them, but also operated on them in 2014. Since then, the children are staying on the premises and are cared for by nurses. A nurse, who is called ‘amma’ by colleagues, said, “I don’t know about the allegations levied on the management, but there are several patients like these twins who feel the hospital is their home. If the hospital closes down, where will they go?”