At the time of inauguration, the Rs. 130 crore swanky building of Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital in Erragadda was billed as a super-speciality centre. And 15 months, it is still struggling to get rid of the image of a ‘referral’ hospital. Barring radiology, all other super-specialities are a namesake here.
The hospital has many departments including paediatric surgery, ophthalmology, nephrology, urology, cardiology, cardio thoracic surgery and neurosurgery. However, lack of medical equipment and shortage of staff has hindered these specialities to develop fully.
The doctors at ESI Hospital were rooting for a Rs. 50 crore Cath lab to perform interventions like angiography and install pacemakers. Tenders were floated recently to set up the Cath lab under a private-public partnership (PPP) model.
“For reasons best known to them, authorities suddenly decided not to opt for PPP model and the tenders were cancelled. Now, the ESIC wants to procure a Cath lab on its own,” sources said. There is also a need for specialists like cardiac anaesthetists and paramedical staff for each cardiac unit. There are Cardio-Thoracic surgeons but their services could not be availed due to lack of equipment and staff,” they maintained.
“We keep sending proposals to our head office in New Delhi. But, it is taking a lot of time to finalise tenders and procure equipment. Only the radiology department is fully active while the rest of the departments are just for referrals,” senior doctors of the hospital said.
The ESIC had spent close to Rs. 30 crore to procure MRI and CT scanning machines. These are the only substantial investments made by ESIC.
There is a neurosurgery department but 90 per cent of the department is not operational.
What do the existing medical departments with inpatient do then? “We admit the patients and evaluate their condition. After three days of assessment, we refer them to a private hospital,” the doctors said.