Sheer numbers of patients and old equipment have left services of vital medical diagnostics-MRI and CT scan-at government hospitals in the capital in disarray. It has left patients at the receiving end, as doctors, for want of accurate results, have been asking patients to get scans done at private facilities.

On any given day, waiting list of patients needing such scans at Gandhi, Osmania and Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) hovers anywhere from 30 to 35 outpatients in addition to inpatients and trauma cases from emergency wards.

The three tertiary hospitals have only one CT and MRI scanning machines each. The old scanning machines take more time and produce less accurate images. To tide over the huge demand, doctors are forced to prioritise.

“Only emergency patients are given priority. We ask outpatients to wait for their turn or get scans from private facilities. We have requested authorities to upgrade our CT scan and recruit trained technicians to handle the MRI. The proposals are pending,” doctors at OGH and Gandhi Hospital point out.

Despite the huge demand, the upgrading of CT and MRI scans has not taken place. “It takes 30 minutes to take images from a CT scan. But, the sluggish equipment takes over 45 minutes for one patient. Private diagnostic centres have faster and accurate machines. Doctors need best technology to identify source of sickness,” NIMS doctors lament.

Lack of experienced technicians and insufficient staff to handle CT and MRI has cost postgraduate seats at Gandhi Hospital. “Since two-years, MCI had not sanctioned any postgraduate seats to Radiology Department. All the government hospitals in the capital have single CT and MRI machines. If a machine goes bust then it takes a minimum of two months for repairs,” Gandhi Hospital doctors point out.