P.K. Sreemathy, Minister for Health, has called upon the media not to publish unfounded reports on the perceived inadequacies in the government hospitals in light of the implementation of the referral system in government medical college hospitals since such a move would only help the private sector.

Speaking to media persons at a hurriedly called press conference after her surprise visit at Kottayam District Hospital here on Saturday, Ms. Sreemathy said the decision to transform government medical college hospitals into referral facilities was part of a long process which began nearly 15 years ago. Baseless reports on the inadequacies of the peripheral hospitals would create apprehension in the minds of the people who would them seek the help of costly private hospitals, she said.

Making it clear that the introduction of the referral system would not create problems for the common man, Ms. Sreemathy said there would not be any restrictions to approach the medical college hospitals directly in the case of accidents or where emergency assistance was needed. Hospital authorities would refer such patients to the respective specialties as was being done till now.

In other Out Patient (OP) sections, priority will be for patients referred to the hospital from the peripheral hospitals. Any of the peripheral hospital can directly refer patients to the referral hospital, she said.

The allegations being raised to the perceived inadequacies in General Hospitals and district hospitals was to the contrary, she said.

Barring one or two district hospitals, all other hospitals have enough number of doctors and para medical staff, she said.

In Kottayam District Hospitals there are 42 posts and 41 of these have been filled. In addition, the hospital gets the service of five National rural Health Mission (NRHM) doctors. In Alappuzha General Hospitals 24 out of the 26 posts have been filled in addition to the temporary postings. “When Specialty Cadre is implemented by December, this number will increase to 34,” she said. In Ernakulam General Hospital, the number of doctors will be increased to 63 from the present 55.

Ms. Sreemathy said the government has spent 44.81 crore for strengthening infrastructure facilities, especially equipment for government hospitals in the State.

Reacting to a question, Ms. Sreemathy said the impact of implementation of the referral system would be routinely monitored.

According to the Minister, the introduction of Specialty Cadre and Administrative Cadre in the coming days in the public health dispensation system of the State would witness a major change qualitatively.

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