Peripheral Hospitals Not in Sound Health: Study
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12 jULY 2010
By Pritha Chatterjee
A STUDY by CEHAT (Center for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes) reveals some alarming statistics on the city’s peripheral hospitals–Rajawadi, KB Bhabha (Kurla) ,Cooper and MT Aggarwal Hospitals. However, BMC authorities deny the findings.
Carrying out a study on bed occupancy, staff strength and availability of diagnostic facilities and drugs in peripheral hospitals, CEHAT found that Rajawadi Hospital was using 77 per cent of its available bed strength, KBBH Kurla 49 per cent, Cooper Hospital 57 per cent and MT Aggarwal Hospital 62 per cent. In these four, 47 per cent of the medical and paramedical staff posts were found vacant. The situation was particularly alarming at Rajawadi and KB Bhabha(Kurla); 253 and 104 nursing posts were vacant respectively.
BMC authorities were unwilling to release exact numbers of vacant posts, and said collectively only five posts were vacant in the 16 civic hospitals.
Dr Santosh Ranekar, in–charge of the peripheral hospitals in BMC’s health department, said,“Of the 15 administrative medical officer (AMO) posts, two are vacant and of the 193 medical officer posts(MO), only two are vacant at present.” He didn’t disclose the vacant nursing and paramedical staff posts in the hospitals.
Chief Medical Superintendent of peripheral hospitals, Dr Seema Ma lik, said she “was not aware about the study”, and “to her knowledge such a great number of posts were not vacant.” However, the CEHAT has identified the lack of timely recruitment and long periods of absenteeism as the major cause for problems.
Meanwhile, patients in peripheral hospitals continue to complain about inadequate facilities. A resident of Vile Parle referred to KEM by Cooper authorities for head injury said, “They could not treat me because there was no anesthetist at night. I had to go to KEM in that condition.”
Patients are also beleaguered by constant referrals for pathological tests and injections. A patient admitted to KB Bhabha Hospital, Bandra, was shocked at being asked to buy his own medicines. “At civic hospitals, patients are supposed to get free medicines. When I protested, the doctor told me to complain to the medical superintendent,” said a 40year–old resident of Bandra whose wife was admitted to the Hospital. The study found a high rate of referrals from peripheral hospitals on trauma and specialised cases for lack of facilities. The absence of emergency services at night was identified as a serious concern. All the hospitals were found to dearth of drugs, especially antibiotics. Diagnostic equipment in many were dysfunctional.
While at Rajawadi Hospital, the X–ray machine and stress test equipment were not being used, at Cooper Hospital, of the three X–ray machines, only two were functional. In MT Aggarwal Hospital, labour ward, skin and psychiatric departments were not functioning.
Asked about these findings, Dr Seema Malik said she would have to “look into the latest state of affairs.”