On Monday afternoon, nearly seven persons, including a patient, were trapped in a lift at the outpatient block of Government Royapettah Hospital (GRH) for nearly 10 minutes.

After the persons trapped in the lift between the ground and first floor called for help, an electrician arrived at the spot to fix the problem.

A regular visitor to the hospital noted that the lift was badly maintained and such breakdowns were a common occurrence.

In February 2012, former health minister V. S. Vijay and a group of doctors were trapped in a lift at one of the new buildings of GRH when he had gone to inaugurate the Chief Minister health insurance scheme ward.

Several such problems plague patients and their attendants at GRH. Topping the list is lack of drinking water on the premises, say patients. A few patients admitted in the old cancer block said there is no drinking water for visitors to the hospital and their attendants had to buy water.

“We are buying water from hotels and tea shops in the vicinity for Rs. 3 to Rs. 6 every day,” said an attendant.

A hospital worker said the drinking water tank near the outpatient department was demolished for renovation work.

Some patients pointed out the attendants were not allowed to use the toilets in the wards. “Earlier, there was a Chennai Corporation pay-and-use toilet facility located near the hospital but this was demolished. As a result, many attendants face plenty of hardship and the nearest public toilet facility is located more than a kilometre away,” said Krishnan, who had brought his wife for treatment.

When contacted, a senior hospital authority said the hospital did not face drinking water problems. He said one attendant was permitted for a patient and they could use the toilets in the wards, as otherwise maintenance would be a problem.

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