It is around quarter to eleven in the morning. On the first floor of the district hospital Shopian, a physician is crowded around by patients inside a room.
While he is examining one, others are jostling for theirturn. A well-illuminated corridoroutside is swarmed with legion of sick men, women and children all waiting fortheir turn.
Even after several hours the scene is same here.
Located just a short walk from Gole Chakri, the nerve centreof the town, this nearly four-decade-old hospital invariably finds itselfshort-handed.
The hospital, according to an official, receives at least800 to 900 patients a day. The hospital faces shortfall of both medical andparamedical workforce.
The present staff strength no way qualifies the facility forthe status of district hospital.
The posts including that of senior consultant physician,senior consultant surgery, consultant ophthalmologist, consultant physician,consultant ENT, consultant orthopaedic, consultant surgery and consultantpaediatrician are lying vacant.
In dentistry department, one post of dental surgeon againstthe three sanctioned posts is yet to be filled.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the sanctionedstrength of the medical officers is seven which is too low to tackle the hugepatient inflow.
"A 100-bed district hospital that this is should haveat least 15-20 medical officers," said a doctor who did not wish to benamed.
Important posts like Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Urologyand Dermatology have never been created for the hospital. "In absence of these specialists, wehave to send the patients to tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar, almost atwo-hour drive from here. The critical patients more often than not waste theirgolden hours on the way," said the doctor, adding that local residentsumpteen times vented their spleen but to no avail.
The curtains, however, did not fall here. The chronicpaucity of paramedical staff also adds to the bedlam in the hospital. The slotsof x-ray technicians (head and junior), theatre technician, junior staffnurses, nursing orderlies, head ophthalmologist technician, head labtechnician, junior dental assistant EMPHWs among others are yet to be filled.
The hospital is also ill-equipped. It sans criticalfacilities like the CT Scan and MRI.
"The patients have to rush down to Srinagar for want ofthese facilities," said the sources.
Medical Superintendent Shopian, Dr G.M Bhat conceded thatthey were running short of staff. He, however, said that with the help of localadministration many new facilities have been added to the hospital. "Weestablished a blood storage unit and introduced many facilities includingdigital x-ray, colonoscopy and endoscopy," he said.