SHOPIAN: When the main hospital in hilly district of Shopian was upgraded from Community Health Center (CHC) to District Hospital, the politicians sold it as a landmark development. Eight years down the line, the locals say that the “change” turned out to be the replacement of hospital’s signboard alone.
The hospital continues to be devoid of basic facilities including shortage of specialist doctors. The patients are constrained to move to the neighbouring district hospitals for treatment. The skeletal staff at the hospital faces the brunt of work overload.
There are no automatic analysers for carrying out tests, a facility that even primary health centers boast of possession. The tests are conducted manually in an archaic style. A local lawyer Habeel Iqbal says the authorities pay no heed to the pressing demands of the hospital and patients approaching it for better treatment.
Iqbal runs a group working for better medical facilities. In response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by the group, the authorities admitted that the hospital one each surgical and delivery tables. “Availability of a single delivery and surgical table means that only one surgery can be done at a time and if two emergency cases requiring surgery are brought to the hospital simultaneously, there is no option but to refer one of the patients”, Iqbal says.
Worse, the hospital does not possess all-important blood bank. “In case of surgery requiring blood transfusion, a donor is kept ready. Otherwise, the surgery is not conducted”, said a hospital staff.
The space earmarked for blood-storage is, at times, the choicest place for the relaxing staff to go for a nap.
The major issue with the hospital is the staff crunch. Three sanctioned specialist doctors are working against the requirement of twenty one.
“A district hospital is supposed to have at least twenty one specialist doctors but this hospital has only three and few more are working on attachment basis here,” said a para-medic. “The hospital functions without an ENT specialist, nor is there any doctor available for doing endoscopy”, he said. The CT- scan facility is only a dream.
The only thing, residents say, which has changed after the up-gradation of the hospital is the signboard at the main gate.
Medical Superintendent Dr Muneer attributed the lack of facilities in the hospital to “acute space crunch”.
“Lack of proper accommodation is the major problem in the hospital”, said Dr Muneer. “There is no space for placing additional surgical tables in the Operation Theatre. We have separate blood storage facility but that is used for other purposes due to the lack of accommodation,” he told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the hospital management has approached the deputy commissioner for financial assistance in order to procure a fully-automatic analyser.
He said the construction of new building was underway. “Until the new building block of the hospital is completed the problem will continue,” the MS said.