Quarters built during British era are in disrepair; some have been demolished

Every hospital built during the British era had dedicated quarters for the chief doctor as he/she was expected to be available on the premises at all times. However, a visit to various hospitals in the city revealed that few of these quarters are occupied. In some cases, they have even been razed.

The roof of the house of the resident medical officer (RMO) of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital is damaged. The RMO has had to find another accommodation. The bungalow next to the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Egmore is the official residence of the dean of the GH. The building was last occupied seven years ago. Some months ago, the building was whitewashed.

When under the Right to Information Act, a person sought details about the RMO’s accommodation in the GH, the hospital replied that the building was rendered unusable last year as the roof developed cracks. According to an official, assistant RMOs were in charge in the absence of the RMO.

The quarters inside the Government Eye Hospital in Egmore was used by the director of medical education until eight years ago. Since then, it has been unoccupied. The residence of the RMO in the Institute of Mental Health was demolished three years ago, according to hospital staff. “The building was built by the British and had become derelict. Now, the RMO rents a house in a nearby locality. Anyway, there are night duty doctors who inform the RMO in case of trouble,” said a hospital employee.

Accommodation for the dean and the RMO of Kilpauk Medical College was brought down to make way for the metro rail work, according to hospital employees here. At the Government Royapettah Hospital, a derelict building still sports the board – RMO. The Government Stanley Hospital has a relatively new building, providing accommodation for both the RMO and the Dean. The windows and the gates are under lock and key. A senior retired doctor said the quarters were last occupied around 15 years ago.

At the Rajah Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Lying-in Maternity Hospital in Royapuram, the quarters located inside the hospital is not in use. A government doctor said, “RMOs are asked to stay on the hospital premises to handle any emergency situation or any medical issue. Assistant RMOs stay at the hospital round-the-clock.”

One of the norms stipulated by the Medical Council of India is that residential accommodation shall be provided on the hospital campus for interns, junior and senior residents and registrars. Officials said all the new colleges built in the past five-six years have adhered to the norms.

For some time now, government doctors have been seeking on-campus accommodation for at least those who head the departments. “With the traffic becoming so chaotic, it is important that the dean and senior hospital officials remain on the premises all the time,” opined a senior specialist in Stanley hospital. The government allotted Rs. 50 crores in its health budget to upgrade infrastructure according to the MCI norms. Whether the accommodation for RMOs and deans is part of the project is yet unclear.

(With inputs from Serena Josephine M.)

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