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No govt ultrasound centre within 50km of Bathinda civil hospital

As a result, the Bathinda hospital does 40 ultrasounds a day with over 200 patients pouring in from Mansa, Muktsar and Faridkot districts. Mansa district hospital too has no ultrasound facility.

punjab Updated: May 31, 2018 12:04 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Bathinda
govt ultrasound centre,ailing healthcare,healthcare in Punjab
The emergency ward at the Bhagta Bhai Ka community health centre when it is functional. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

For the poor, the travails of having to make do with dysfunctional health facilities makes life a hellish experience. Sample this: No Community Health Centre (CHC) civil hospital within a radius of 50km from Bathinda district hospital has ultrasound facility.

What’s worse, for two years now, the ultrasound machine at the Goniana civil hospital has been non-functional. “The hospital has no radiologist,” says Dr R Bhushan, the doctor on duty.

As a result, the Bathinda hospital does 40 ultrasounds a day with over 200 patients pouring in from Mansa, Muktsar and Faridkot districts. Mansa district hospital too has no ultrasound facility.

“There is no radiologist in the entire Bathinda district,”said Bathinda civil surgeon Dr H N Singh. He has hired two private radiologists to run the ultrasound machine for 6-8 hours. “The machine runs six hours every day till 2pm. Those left have to come again the next day.”

At the Muktsar district hospital, a medical officer has trained in radiology with a qualified radiologist not available. “We do 60-70 ultrasounds daily,” said Muktsar civil surgeon Dr Sukhpal Singh.

Special CHC without ‘specialists’

The Bhagta Bhai Ka CHC, 40km from Bathinda, is one of the 100 enlisted ‘special and state-of-the-art CHCs across Punjab’; however, it does not have a single specialist. All four posts of specialists in surgery, gynaecology, medicine and paediatrician are vacant. Even the post of the senior medical officer (SMO) is vacant.

The HT team spotted a lone young medical officer, stitching an injured skin head in the emergency, with over 50 patients waiting for her at the OPD as well.

“I have no time to talk,” she says, carefully stitching a hand. The paramedical staff at Bhagta Bhai Ka CHC explained that the MBBS medical officers from the three nearby primary health centres (PHCs), of Bhodipura, Dyalpura and Bhai Rupa villages have been roped in for rotational night duties at the emergency ward.

The Bajakhana CHC, a 30-bed hospital in adjoining Faridkot, has no indoor pre-natal gynae patient. It caters to over 95 villages, yet nurses failed to show the record of any delivery case. All four sanctioned posts, each of surgeon, gynaecologist, medicine and paediatrics have been vacant for a year. “All prenatal cases are referred to the Faridkot civil hospital. I have no specialists at the hospital,” said Dr Murari Lal, Bajakhana senior medical officer.

GOD FORBID YOU FALL ILL: A notice stating that no patient is to be entertained at the emergency after 2pm at the Bhagta Bhai Ka community health centre, 40 km from Bathinda. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

50% gynae posts vacant in four districts

In Mansa, Bathinda, Fazilka and Muktsar, the four southern states of the district, 21 of 41 posts of gynaecologists are vacant. There are 29 vacancies (of 41 posts) in medicine; 28 (38) in paediatrics, five (seven) in radiology. “Letters to the government on vacancies in crucial areas like medicine and childcare have not yielded any positive response,” said an administrative official at the Mansa civil hospital.

Faridkot, Ferozepur better-off

Faridkot and Ferozepur are better off, with one of eights posts of gynaecologists lying vacant; all seven posts in medicine are filled; in paediatrics, four of 10 posts are vacant. In radiology, there is one vacancy for five posts.

“We face a tough time in filling up these posts (of specialists). We have now introduced full pay scale for MBBS medical officers as well. I hope things will improve. There were more than 60 questions on the health department alone in the last Vidhan Sabha session,” said Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra.

First Published: May 31, 2018 09:54 IST