Minister for Health V.S. Sivakumar said here on Thursday that the government would ensure that the functioning of ward 9 — the ward for destitute patients at the General Hospital — was streamlined.

The Minister visited the ward, along with K. Muraleedharan, MLA, to assess the living conditions in the ward after the government allocated more funds, facilities and manpower to maintain the ward properly.

He also received 15 cots and mattresses that were donated to the ward by a resident of Valiavila.

He said the maintenance and functioning of the ward had improved after the government engaged 20 Grade II employees and eight home nurses exclusively for the care of the destitute and infirm in-patients in the ward.

Though 34 in-patients in the ward were well enough to be discharged, the General Hospital authorities had not been able to do so as these elderly persons had no homes to go back to or none to care for them. Ten patients out of the 34 had been rehabilitated and three could be sent back to their own homes after the relatives came forward to take their responsibility.

He said the government had already sought the permission of the Chief Judicial Magistrate to shift 10 in-patients from ward 9 to the Mental Health Centre as they seemed to show signs of mental illnesses.

Belted trolleys and wheelchairs were being provided by HLL Lifecare for the ward, while the Thiruvananthapuram Chartered Accountants Association had donated six exhaust fans. Steps were being taken by Keltron to install surveillance cameras in the ward, he said.

The Minister said the Hospital Superintendent was submitting daily reports to the DMO. The DMO made weekly visits to the ward. The Deputy Superintendent at the General Hospital would be in charge of ward 9 and would ensure that food, medicines, and clothes were distributed to the in-patients in time.

The first meeting of the high-level monitoring committee instituted by the government ill be held on December 5 at the General Hospital .

District Medical Officer T. Peethambaran, General Hospital officials and senior Health Department officials were present.