The inflow of attendants accompanying patients at GH has made maintenance a herculean task, say authorities

A patient admitted at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH), on an average, receives at least four to five visitors a day. This influx of visitors has turned maintenance into a herculean task.

Every day, GH plays host to at least 40,000 to 50,000 persons including 12,000 out-patients and an equal number of attendants and 3,000 in-patients, including 600 in the intensive care unit (ICU) and post-operative wards. Currently, there is no restriction on the entry of visitors to the hospital. The GH had earlier introduced a token system for visitors to the ICU but it was discontinued.

The two tower blocks witness a huge flow of visitors, especially for patients admitted to the medical and surgical wards. Visitors and attendants sit in groups and have lunch on almost all floors in the blocks, while some even take a nap there.

“People from rural areas often do not have any relatives who can put them up. So, some of the family members stay at the hospital,” a hospital staff said. The waiting halls at the blocks exist only in name.

T. Ramadurai (name changed) of Thanjavur spends his time on the staircase from morning till late evening. “I sit here till evening as I have to buy lunch and tea for my wife. There is no other place to wait,” he said.

However, staff members are not happy. “Sometimes, even 10 persons come to visit a patient. They leave only in the evening. We find it difficult to keep the floors clean,” a maintenance staff said.

Doctors said the lack of adequate manpower was partly a reason for increased number of attendants. “There are not many ward boys and attendants have to collect laboratory reports,” a doctor said.

The situation is also worsened by people throwing waste through the windows. The hospital administration is planning to cover all windows using iron mesh.

GH has a total of 65 security personnel from the Tamil Nadu Ex-Servicemen Corporation but hospital authorities said more personnel were needed. “We also have 1,000-odd government employees as sanitary and hospital workers for maintaining cleanliness in the old buildings. The maintenance of the tower blocks has been outsourced and there are about 200 persons. We still need more manpower,” he said. The hospital is looking at establishing an “Amma Unavagam” so that visitors will stop bringing food to the wards.

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