At Lal Ded Hospital, a new form of referrals irks doctors
Srinagar: Meant for tertiary care, the Lal Ded Hospital here finds itself overburdened by ‘normal cases’ coming in from peripheries. While these patients could have been managed in the lower rung hospitals, patients beeline the facility putting pressure on limited resources.
Maternity Care in Kashmir has been running primarily on the peg of Lal Ded Hospital, Kashmir’s largest tertiary care Gynaecology and Obstetrics facility. In the month of April, 13827 patients were seen in the OPD of the hospital.
Of these, nearly 3000 were admitted to the hospital. In a day, 80 deliveries are carried out in the hospital, including natural births and Cesarean Sections.
The Hospital has just 100 doctors, who are required to run the OPD, manage the wards, carry out normal deliveries, run Operation Theatres and also address the surgeries not related to deliveries.
The hospital, though a 700-bedded facility, finds itself bursting at seams, many doctors that Greater Kashmir spoke to said. Since the Government started pressing the peripheries to reduce referrals to the tertiary care hospitals, a new trend has started.
“Earlier, there used to be patients referred to LD Hospital at the time of deliveries from the hospitals across Kashmir. Now they tell them to visit the hospitals way before the delivery time, for Ante-natal Check Ups and procure the ‘LD Card’,” a doctor working in GMC Srinagar said. He said the hospital now has an added load of patients because not just at delivery point, the expecting mothers keep visiting for check-ups from far-off places throughout the nine months.
“This is because they do not want to have a patient recorded as a referral and those having a Card from LD Hospital are verbally directed to proceed to the hospital, even if all their parameters are normal,” he said.
A doctor working at LD Hospital said, “Why should a patient from Shopian come to us from Shopian for her delivery if it is not a complicated case or a high risk pregnancy,” a doctor coming out of the labour room told Greater Kashmir on Friday. She said she had worked at least three nights in the week because ‘the load was just overwhelming’.
While the Government has been putting its heads together to reduce referrals to LD Hospital, doctors at the hospital said the initiative has made things worse for them.
“We now have the verbal referrals and an overwhelming demand for LD Cards for ANC from across the districts. These patients that we are getting from the peripheries are not even recorded as referrals,” the doctors said.
Medical Superintendent LD Hospital, Dr Muzaffar Hussain Sherwani said the hospital was working on modalities to improve healthcare delivery. “We are a very busy hospital and have been in touch with the Government to highlight and address our issues,” he said.