Inadequate staff, idle machines put PMC-run hospitals in ICU
The death of a 20-year-old pregnant woman at a hospital run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) last week has yet again brought out the deplorable condition of civic hospitals. These hospitals are in poor shape with inadequate number of doctors and almost negligible medical facilities.
While the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Monday suspended the doctor for his alleged negligence which led to the death of the pregnant woman last week, elected members rue that the civic body needs to recruit doctors and pay attention to the health services.
According to corporators, PMC’s health facility itself is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as there are no expert staff to handle emergency situations. While the PMC has spent money and bought expensive equipment - like sonography, dental machinery and dialysis facilities - most of them are not in use due to lack of expert medical staff.
PMC officers from the health department, too, have accepted that despite adequate medical infrastructure, it is underutilised due to lack of manpower. Following complaints from elected members, Anjali Sabne, assistant health officer from PMC, held a meeting with medical officers and instructed them to review the non-functioning machines at various hospitals and clinics.
Sabne said that some of the equipment are not in use due to inadequate number of experienced staff, including doctors. “It is true that there are less number of doctors and experts. Also, some machines are not being used though they are owned by PMC,” she said.
Sabne said there are 518 vacant posts, of which 150 are class one officers and 17 posts are of radiologists. With no expert doctors in place, the machines remain idle at most of the PMC-run facilities.
Sabne said that the PMC tried to hire expert doctors on a temporary basis, on assignment basis, but nothing worked out. If PMC fills its own posts, it will help provide better services to the patients. The health department had reportedly put forth a demand to fill the vacant posts with the municipal commissioner.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader in PMC, Sanjay Bhosale, said that he had given the sonography machine from his ward development fund to the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital at Yerawada. However, it is not operational. He blamed that instead of conducting the sonography procedure on the machine owned by PMC, the staff was sending patients to private labs for the procedure. He pointed out that despite having all the facility, the hospital was not functioning and hardly 20 deliveries were happening in this hospital per month.
Republican Party of India’s corporator Sunita Wadekar said that the hospital located at Bopodi on the Old Pune-Mumbai road is not functional since the last six months.
PMC health officer Sabne accepted that the upper two floors of the hospital, earlier run by Sahyadri Hospital, were not functional. PMC has been running the hospital on its own, but is now planning to run it along with a private party.
Most corporators, including those of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), raised various issues over clinics and hospitals in their ward.
The Bindu Madhav Thakre Hospital located at Karve road is also not fully functioning, said BJP member Manjushree Khardekar. The health department officials said that the multi-utility hospital was constructed by PMC, but considering the lack of manpower, it is not possible to run the whole hospital for now.