More than a year after air conditioning machines arrived at the Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet, they are yet to be installed at the hospital's mortuary.

The AC units remain packed in the bubble wrap parcels inside wooden boxes that seem damaged. It was in September last year that the AC units arrived to cool the mortuary located inside the hospital, known more popularly as Chromepet GH.

A sum of Rs. 10 lakh was spent for purchasing them and they have remained outside the accident and trauma care ward for the past one year. The mortuary has facilities to store only nine bodies in the vaults. But there are many more than that number at any given time, considering that a huge number of medico legal cases are reported in the southern suburbs of Chennai and several areas in the city's Western suburbs.

So far this year, 720 post-mortems have been performed at the Chromepet GH's mortuary, indicating the amount of burden on the staff, especially its attendants and para-medical team. In the absence of foolproof and latest air-conditioning that are vital for a mortuary, the attendants are forced to work in difficult conditions.

According to senior officials at the Department of Health and Family Welfare, they had initially planned to tie up with a private medical college and hospital to upgrade the mortuary and the AC units were purchased in that context.

After the imposition of the model code of conduct earlier this year in view of the Assembly elections in May, the project was shelved. Stating that the AC units could be installed only after they received a High Tension power supply from Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited, officials said they were hopeful of taking up the work soon.

Officials said the government was in the process of getting accreditation for Chromepet GH under National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers, a component of Quality Council of India.

Government hospitals in Namakkal and Sholinghur in Vellore district had received this accreditation from NABH and many more, including Chromepet GH were in the process of getting them.

As part of this, a lot of improvement work were currently under way at the hospital, including construction of storm water drains, standardising facilities at the x-ray unit, establishing a full-fledged poison centre to avoid referrals to government hospital in the city etc.

They were ensuring that the bedspreads were neatly put and this was possible after installing a modern laundry at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh. There was a visible improvement in the quality of services, including cleanliness of the premises, especially its wards after they outsourced housekeeping, the officials said, adding that in a few months, the Chromepet GH would sport an entirely new look.