The Health and Medical Education Departments came under fire at the Legislative Council on Monday with Opposition members questioning the need for ‘Namma Clinics’ in urban areas when the existing Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are languishing.
Raising the issue, JD(S) member C.N. Manje Gowda asked why the government is coming up with Namma Clinics instead of upgrading the existing health facilities. “When you do not have enough doctors for the existing facilities, where will you get doctors for the Namma Clinics?” he asked.
Referred to pvt. hospitals
“Are you aware of the problems patients face at PHCs? While shortage of doctors is a common perennial problem, patients are referred to private centres due to the lack of diagnostic and scanning facilities in government hospitals. Patients are given prescriptions to purchase medicine from outside. The Lokayukta has also inspected and found several discrepancies in government hospitals,” said Congress member Abdul Jabbar.
“Although dialysis and scanning facilities are available, patients are referred to private centres,” he said. The member pointed out that doctors do not have residential fasciitis in the villages and are not found in the workplace during night. “Who will attend to emergencies at night?” he asked.
Responding to this, Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said that 2,000 doctors have been appointed in the one and half years. Besides, around 4,000 doctors are also being deployed under compulsory rural service norms. Not all PHCs are under-staffed, he said.
Pointing out that the 438 Namma clinics will become operational by October, the Minister said the clinics will offer 12 different services.
The Minister said one hundred PHCs will be upgraded to community health centres this year. “Measures are being initiated to make PHCs function 24/7. A grievance cell has been set to hear patients’ complaints and resolve them within 15 days. We have increased dialysis cycles from 3,0000 to 60,000 a month,” he said.
BJP member Ayanur Manjunath questioned why the Medical Education Department has not provided retirement benefits of National Pension Scheme or Old Pension Scheme to employees of autonomous medical institutions. “Those who joined in 2006-2007 are not getting any retirement benefits. You as the Minister are the head of the governing council in such institutions. Why did you not make this facility available?” he asked
Mr. Sudhakar replied that the institutions had to bear the expenses of providing these benefits till 2020 after which an Order has been issued that makes a provision of 10% matching grants from the government. “We will discuss with the Finance Department on how those deprived of such benefits can be compensated,” he said.