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Times of India
06 July 2011
By, Tanaji Khot

As over 2,000 patients flock to collect free hypertension drugs, the hospital staff struggles to cope with the crowd
Sassoon Can’t Take High Pressure
Staff at Sassoon General Hospital may soon be forced to start taking hypertension pills themselves, as they can’t handle the crowds that flock to the hospital to collect high blood pressure drugs. Around two and half thousand people throng to Sassoon to collect their monthly quota of the drug, crowding the counters at the Out Patient Department (OPD) counters. The number of patients queuing up for the drugs are increasing in the hospital, forcing the authorities to change the timings of OPD for these patients.

Some patients show up early in the morning to get their monthly quota of the drugs. A few elderly people bring tiffins along because of how long it takes to reach the counter. The hospital even deploys security personnel for smooth disbursement of the drugs. Earlier, the allotted timing for cardiology and hypertension patients was 12pm to 2pm, however patients who ail from other diseases also come to get their medicines and check-ups done at the same time. This creates overcrowding in the passage of the hospital’s ground floor.

Appasaheb Borawake is a patient who has to come to Pune from Yavat for his monthly quota of drugs. Due to his medical condition, he can’t wait in the queue for a long time and so, this reporter found him sitting on the floor, waiting for his turn to come. He said, “ I took the earliest train to Pune and only after coming here did I come to know that the department has changed the timings for the disbursement of the drugs. Now, I will reach home quite late.”

The long queue of patients at Sassoon hospital on Tuesday The long queue of patients at Sassoon hospital on Tuesday
There were a few more women who sat on the floor or wherever they found place to sit, because they can’t stand in the queue for so long. Suraiyaa (55) from Ghorpade Peth was lucky as she managed to get her monthly quota of the drugs after waiting in the queue for two hours. “
It is difficult for patients, who have to wait so long. however, we have no other option. In the market, we have to pay at least Rs 1,000 for the medicines

, that are available at Sassoon free of cost.”

A few ailing patients were waiting outside while their relatives stood in the queue on their behalf. there isn’t only one queue that patients have to wait in. Before getting the medicines, they also have to wait a long time to get their medical check-ups done. and the have to wait patiently as most of them don’t have any other options.

An employee of Sassoon, who is involved in the process, said, “ There are at least 2,000 people who come here to get drugs. Among them hypertension and blood pressure patients are the highest in number, followed by diabetes patients. Wednesday is allotted for diabetes patients.

Another issue troubling Sassoon is that as the number of patients collecting high blood pressure and cardiology drugs are increasing, no permanent cardiologist has been appointed at Sassoon hospital. There are four cardiologists who come on an honorary basis on Tuesday. This is also one of the many reasons for over crowding.

When asked about the problem, Anand Kulkarni, the superintendent of Sassoon, told Mirror, “ Sassoon is being overcrowded for this disease. However, we are making adequate provisions to provide smooth service to patients. That is the reason why the 1pm-3pm timing has been allotted for disbursing these drugs. The number of patients having hypertension has increased many fold, which has resulted in overcrowding. As these drugs are life saving, the government provides it for free and we have an unlimited quota for these drugs.”

When asked about why Sassoon does not allot two days a week for these patients, Kulkarni said, “ It is impossible. Presently, each day of week has been allotted for a particular disease, but if this situation continues, we may consider providing this service twice a week. Currently, we provide monthly quota of the drugs to avoid crowding.”

The long queue of patients at Sassoon hospital on Tuesday

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