Lack of basic medical facilities and infrastructure at district hospital in Shopian has made life difficult for patients of the area.
Locals allege, “The apathy of hospital administration has left the people at the mercy of God. Even for minor issues, patients are shifted either to private hospitals or are referred to tertiary care hospital, Srinagar.”
A doctor on conditions of anonymity admitted, “Due to limited facilities available, we refer a large number of patients to Srinagar.”
Another doctor working in the hospital also admitted, “The hospital management is unable to provide quality healthcare facilities to patients, increasing their dependency on private hospitals or tertiary care hospitals.”
The district hospital in Shopian was established in 1977 as a sub-district hospital. This hospital was built when Shopian was a tehsil of Anantnag district. Later Shopian became tehsil of Pulwama district. And a little over a decade, it was carved as a separate district.
Shopian district is situated in the foothills of Pirpanchal range and it has a hilly topography. The district is having an area of 30741.6 hectares and has a population of about 2.70 lakh people.
The locals say, “In 2008, the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Congress- PDP coalition government upgraded it as a district hospital, but no facilities have been improved.”
It still operates from the old building and no infrastructure has been added to it during the past decade. Construction work on new building was started in 2009 but has been stopped due to unknown reasons.
Medical Superintendent Dr Nazir Ahmad said, “There are only seven specialist doctors in this hospital against a requirement of 30 doctors. Other areas and departments also are short-staffed. Crores were spent on procuring high end medical equipment years ago, but it has never been used as there is hardly any skilled staff to operate them.”
However, he added that recently two technicians were appointed in the hospital to make these machines operational.
Director Health Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, also admitted that Shopian hospital is a district hospital but yet with sub-district staff. We have written to the government about the lack of facilities in the Shopian hospital so many times, but we are yet to get a positive response from their side.