ANDHRA PRADESH

`Surprise' visit shocks Lakshmi

NELLORE, AUG. 1. The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, P. Lakshmi, received a number of complaints from patients at the Government Headquarters Hospital, Nellore, where she made a `surprise visit' on Sunday.

As soon as the Minister entered the hospital, the relatives of an accident patient, complained about the callousness of the doctors who allegedly ignored them though the patient was admitted around 4 a.m. Another said if they had known about the poor facilities, they would have opted for treatment elsewhere.

While the Minister was shocked, the duty doctors tried to sideline the issue by reeling out usual excuses. Incidentally there was only one doctor on duty, since it was a Sunday. The Minister later examined the attendance register and was expressed surprise at absence of some of the staff members. She said she would bring the lapses to the notice of authorities concerned.

The D.M.&H.O, P.R. Kodanda Pani, later revealed that the `surprise' visit was part of Minister's schedule and even sought to pull up the staff for their absence.

Soft corner for Nellore

The Minister then laid the foundation stone for a shopping complex to be constructed under the supervision of the municipality. Addressing a gathering at Dycus Road, she made it clear that there would not be any compromise on serving the poor. The Minister acknowledged that she became a Minister only because of the people of Nellore and without them she would be "nowhere." She asked the public to send her a post card, if they cannot meet her personally. "I will do the needful," she assured.

`Philosophical' tinge

During the course of her speech, she chose to be a bit philosophical, remarking, "I don't know for how many days the ministership and the official car would be there."

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