Yet to be upgraded from taluk-level though district was formed 16 years ago

Although Udupi district came into being 16 years ago, the government hospital here has not been upgraded from a taluk hospital to a district hospital.

However, the board outside the hospital declares it a district hospital. The hospital is also facing a severe staff shortage.

The government hospital was functioning as a taluk hospital until 1997 with 124 beds in the general wing and 70 beds in the maternity wing. Udupi became a full-fledged district on August 25, 1997.

The government decided to double the bed-strength of the main wing to 250 in 2001 to upgrade it; but there has been no action on it despite several assurances.

While the bed-strength of the hospital has remained 124, the number of patients visiting it had increased. According to District Surgeon Anand Naik, the hospital treats about 12,000 outpatients and nearly 3,000 inpatients a month.

The shortage of specialists, nurses and Group ‘D’ employees has affected the functioning of the hospital. There should be three general surgeons, two orthopaedists, four paediatricians, and two ophthalmologists in a District Government Hospital as per Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS).

But the hospital has only one surgeon, one ophthalmologist, one paediatrician and one orthopaedist. Though there should be four specialists in general medicine, only two are present. Though there should be 25 casualty doctors, there are none.

There are only 18 nurses though 40 are required. There are only 12 Group ‘D’ workers though 148 are needed. As many as 20 persons had been appointed on contract basis for Group ‘D’ work.

“It is difficult to manage the hospital with such shortage of nurses and Group ‘D’ staff. Since there are no casualty doctors, the internees from the Kasturba Hospital in Manipal are posted to the Casualty Ward along with a specialist on rotation basis,” sources said.

In the maternity wing, though eight gynaecologists are required, only two are working. Nearly 200 deliveries and about 50 caesarean section operation were taking place at the maternity wing in a month. “The gynaecologists are working under tough conditions,” sources said.

‘Proposal given’

MLA Pramod Madhwaraj said he had already given a proposal to the government to upgrade it to a 250-bed hospital. Once the hospital was upgraded, the sanctioned strength of doctors and other staff too would go up.

There was a shortage of specialists in the State, he said. The maternity wing of the hospital would be upgraded at a cost of Rs. 13.61 crore and it would have 100 beds, he said.

More In: Mangaluru