ANDHRA PRADESH

`Critical' problems dog Gandhi Hospital

HYDERABAD, JUNE 1. The euphoria of the brand new premises at Musheerabad is yet to kindle any sort of excitement in the authorities of the Gandhi Hospital, courtesy the tight spot they and the patients are in due to the delayed shifting process and construction work on the new premises.

Shortage of cots is the biggest problem confronting the hospital staff and patients, with the latter being forced to lie on the floor in several wards, including critical ones like the Emergency and Gynaecology wards.

The hospital has 1,012 cots, of which around 500 have been shifted to the new premises. Different wards are sharing the rest, with just 20 put aside for the Emergency and Trauma Care ward. On days when the inflow of patients is more, authorities are put to difficulty in accommodating all of them, and some being forced to use the floor.

A stroll along the wards could turn out to be a touching affair, with the sight on hand being ailing, groaning patients, both young and old, literally jostling for space on the floor and, on the other side, the staff running against time and luck to provide proper care to them.

Hospital officials say they had asked the authorities concerned for 1,100 new cots for the new premises, including 50 for the Emergency ward, but the request has been turned down on grounds of inadequate budget.

Dearth of sufficient staff is another matter giving officials sleepless nights, what with the hospital managing affairs with just around 240 nursing staff, instead of a requirement of 500, and nearly 250 Class IV employees instead of the required 500. Add to this the absence of specialists in several wards now being run by basic qualified doctors, and the functioning of the Gandhi Hospital with a daily patient inflow of around 1,500, seems a miracle.

As for the new block, the Emergency, Radiology and Out-Patient blocks are yet to be commissioned, with the work, mainly related to electricity, dragging along. This has delayed the shifting process further.

"It is a functioning hospital that has to be shifted. If we had a new hospital with all infrastructure in place, matters would have been different and easier," says the Superintendent, A.Y. Chary.