10 months on, OPD yet to be relocated from SCB’s unsafe building

Cuttack: Patients visiting the 73-year-old dilapidated outpatient department (OPD) building at SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH) here fear the possibility of an untoward incident as the authorities are yet to relocate the OPD though the structure was declared to be unsafe in November 2016.
Sources said soon after the works department declared the OPD building to be unsafe, it had served notice on SCB authorities, directing to stop healthcare from the building and relocate the OPD elsewhere. Accordingly, the SCB authorities assured the works department to relocate the OPD to a safe building within two months.
However, nearly 10 months have passed since the decision was taken, the OPD has been functioning from the same unsafe building, putting numerous lives at stake.
Expressing concern over the failure of the SCB authorities to relocate the OPD, a few city intellectuals alleged that the SCB authorities have thrown all warnings and directives of the works department to the winds. “At least 4,500 patients visit the OPD daily. Even as the works department has declared the building to be unsafe, the SCB authorities are yet to take action. In case of any untoward incident at the OPD, the hospital authorities would be held responsible,” they said.
According to sources, during the Maratha rule in Orissa in 1800, a dispensary was set up on the premises (currently SCBMCH) to offer healthcare to devotees visiting the Puri Srimandir, especially during the annual car festival of the trinity.
Later, the dispensary was declared as Orissa Medical School in 1875 and as Orissa Medical College in 1944. In 1951, it was renamed as Sriram Bhanja Medical College. The college was functional from the building, which now houses the OPD. The building has turned at least 73 years, works department engineers said.
Expressing helplessness, a senior SCB doctor, requesting anonymity, said they had to attend to patients amid fear. “With soaking roof and decades-old dilapidated walls, we work putting our life at risk,” the doctor said.
Works department executive engineer Pramod Kumar Nayak, during an inspection, said he had warned the SCB authorities about the possibilities of a mishap. But, they are yet to relocate the OPD.
SCB superintendent Shyama Kanungo said they would relocate the OPD soon. “OPDs of various departments had been relocated. However, OPDs of medicine, ENT and super-speciality have been functioning from the building. They will soon be shifted to a warehouse where renovation is in progress,” Kanungo added.
SCB administrative officer Pratap Mishra said OPDs of all departments would be relocated latest by Monday.

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