Cuttack: The state government has promised to provide free healthcare to people at all public health institutions starting from primary health centres (PHCs) to medical colleges and hospitals under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY). However, it is observed that it has failed to improve infrastructure at many hospitals and could not deliver free services to people.
The Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH), the largest public health institute in state, is also facing shortage of staff and equipment and is unable to provide free healthcare to people.
It is worth mentioning that the state government had initially promised to provide free healthcare facilities to people at PHCs, community health centres (CHCs) and district headquarters hospitals (DHHs) under the BSKY. Subsequently, all government-run medical colleges and hospitals in state, Sishubhawan and Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC) were directed to provide healthcare to people free of cost.
According to sources, the inflow of patients to SCBMCH has gone up after the hospital was brought under the purview of BSKY to provide free healthcare.
As per available data, altogether 1,55, 943 patients were treated at the outpatient departments of the hospital in May, last year while 11,032 were treated at the hospital. However, the figures went up to 1,66, 250 and 20,528 respectively in December, last year.
The trend also continued in January this year. Data claimed that altogether 1, 68, 295 patients were treated at the outpatient departments of SCBMCH while the number was 23, 654 for indoor treatment.
However, the premium health institute has only two CT-scan machines, one MRI scan machine, three ultrasound machines and four X-Ray machines. It is learnt that the first CT- scan machine was purchased in 1980 while the second one was procured five years ago.
The MRI scan machine was installed at SCBMCH under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode in 2010. Many patients are facing problems to get MRI scan facilities in the absence of additional machines. “The lone machine can conduct MRI scan on 20 patients a day. But, at least 50 patients come for the scan on a daily basis. Similarly, patients are being forced to wait at least 15 to 20 days to get a CT-scan,” said a source.
Sources claimed that technicians usually take 45 minutes to conduct CT-scan on a patient. But, at least a hundred patients queue up for scans daily.
“A patient from Mahanga was asked to wait one-and-half months to get the CT scan facility. However, he managed to get the service within five days by bribing some health staff. Similarly, a patient from Jajpur was also forced to wait at least 40 days to avail the service. Patients also face problems to get dialysis facility at the Nephrology department,” alleged social activist Achyut Kumar Sahu.
Similarly, the SCBMCH has been suffering from shortage of health staff from last several months. It is learnt that two out of four senior radiographer posts in the hospital have been lying vacant. Besides, four out of 17 junior radiographer posts are yet to be filled up by the government.
Apart from that, as many as 14 posts of senior laboratory technician, graduate technician and junior laboratory technician are lying vacant at the hospital.
SCBMCH superintendent Jayshree Mohanty said they are arranging all facilities to patients under emergency cases on priority basis. “Some patients under non-emergency cases are advised to wait a few days to get certain facilities,” she said.
Hospital manager Soumya Mohanty said they have procured another CT-scan machine recently. “Now, patients would not face any problem to get CT scan facility. We will soon install some other health equipment on PPP mode,” Mohanty added.