Junaid Nabi Bazaz
SRINAGAR: Patients have to wait for at least a month for a second appointment with a doctor at the OPD of the SKIMS, Soura, an indicator of manifold increase in the number of patients visiting the hospital.
Mymoona, a diabetic patient of 18 years has been visiting the OPD since 2013. As per her medical record, she has been given an appointment after an interval of one-and-a half months. Last time, she saw her doctor in November 2014. Her next appointment date was three months later.
The reason, SKIMS director Dr Showkat Zargar told Kashmir Reader, is that while patient flow has increased steadily over the past 30 years, the OPD’s capacity has remained almost the same.
According to the official data, 8.17 lakh patients were treated at the OPD in 2014. This number is eight times higher than that of 1983, when the hospital was started by former Chief Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
Last year saw the highest jump in patient visits. In 2013, 2012 and 2011, the number of patients who were examined at the OPD was 5.5 lakh, 5.9 lakh and 5.2 lakh respectively.
Going by the above figure, it means 2200 patients were seen every day in 2014. At times, the number crosses 3000, said Dr Zargar.
“These numbers are beyond the capacity of hospital’s OPD,” Dr Zargar said.
This influx has put extra burden on doctors of the hospital. As per Dr Zargar, a doctor in OPD examines more than 100 patients a day against the 30 recommended by the Medical Council of India.
“If we follow that rule, the patients have to wait for years for the next appointment. That is why our doctors see more than the recommended number,” Dr Zargar said.
He said the best way to deal with the problem is to construct a separate OPD block capable of handling a patient rush of 8000 a day.
“I sent a proposal to the government of India three years ago for a new OPD block. The proposal is under process and if it gets a nod the problem will get resolved,” Dr Zargar added.