‘SKIMS will have updated, modern equipment soon’

Director of the tertiary-care hospital says they have taken up with the government the need to make state-of-art equipment available at the Institute
Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS)
Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS)File/ GK

Director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Dr Parvaiz Koul acknowledges that the Institute needs to upgrade its infrastructure, saying the matter has been already taken up with the government.

“Yes the machines are old and we are in need of new equipment. We have already taken it up with the authorities. We hope to procure new state-of-the-art equipment for the Institute,” he told Greater Kashmir.

While the authorities are positive and optimistic about upgrading the infrastructure, the financial constraints play a spoilsport.

“I wish the institute had a budget of Rs 1000 crores and I would give scanners everywhere. Amid the limited budget we have to prioritise things. Recently, we acquired cath Lab worth 10 crore,” he said.

The Capex Budget of the institute is Rs 40 crore out of which Rs 10-15 crore goes for buildings. “And we get only Rs 20 to 25 crores for equipment and in this situation we have to prioritise the things and procure machines accordingly,” he said.

The Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), a tertiary care hospital, is an apex healthcare facility in the Kashmir Valley, which caters to patients from across North India.

Given its standing among health institutions in the country, it is apparent that it meets the best human resource as per the specified benchmarks in the health sector and encourages best practices and processes of managing a hospital in the highly professional manner.

In light of this, it is expected that infrastructure in the hospital is updated so that there is no compromise with the quality of tests being undertaken.

A superficial audit of this hospital would tell us that there is a huge scope for improvement in all the institutional ingredients, especially infrastructure, facilities and equipment.

SKIMS matters to those who are professionally a part of it, and it also matters to the people who consider it a collective asset.

With this sense of belonging, and aiming to see this hospital perform better than the best in the field, it is crucial to identify the weaknesses in its institutional make up, inadequacies in its facilities, and shortcomings in the delivery systems—all this with a positive attitude to improve the standards of this institute, and not to defame it, or find faults for the heck of it.

After all, if you make a diagnosis it is not to declare a patient unhealthy, but to fight the disease.

Today’s medical science is immensely dependent on investigations and mechanical diagnosis. There are hardly any patients who don’t undergo an array of laboratory tests, or machine-driven investigations, before being treated. If anything goes wrong with the testing, it can even endanger the patient’s life. When this is the scenario, the importance of diagnostic equipment doesn’t need any discussion.

That radio-diagnosis makes the backbone of our healthcare system goes almost without saying. And it is here that SKIMS needs to pay attention to. The machines in the Radiology department of SKIMS are old or we can say out-dated, as the reports suggest and as acknowledged by the Director SKIMS. The equipment that has been mostly procured around 2006 cannot suffice the needs of 2022. In an era where technology witnesses update in monthly intervals, the hospital cannot stick with the equipment that is decades old. The present leadership of SKIMS, which is on job, has an urgent task at hand: upgrade the radio-diagnosis equipment on a war footing.

For equipment as old as procured in 2006 even up-gradation may not be possible.

If the hospital has to stay abreast, it needs to change the instrument. In the case of a healthcare institute of the caliber of SKIMS it is supremely important to have all the diagnostic equipment updated. It cannot afford any laxity on this count, because it directly impacts the diagnosis, hence treatment, and hence the lives of people.

Any familiarity with the procurement of equipment in a government department would tell us that it is a time consuming affair. But in the case of a hospital it should not be so.

SKIMS, as has been assured by its authorities, must devise smarter and efficient ways of procuring new equipment. In case of updating the machinery in the Radiology department, the stale ways of procurement should be done away with, and all the equipment must be acquired on a war footing. And in this process those who manage the department should be central in deciding the affairs.

With the finest doctors in SKIMS, we can expect the best of the treatment only if they are provided with the right atmosphere and latest equipment.

Even the best of doctors can fail if not supported by the required support system. The most crucial part of the support system is the diagnostic equipment. Even if the buildings are not that impressive, the actual health facilities make the difference.

One can understand the financial constraints at the institute for procuring new equipment but the people at the helm of affairs should do fair distribution of funds so that every area is given equal concern.

Even the institute has limited financial resources or the budget from the government but the whole amount should not go in construction of buildings only. Up-gradation and procurement of advanced radiology is equally important and should not be ignored in the priority list.

The experts also believe that it is the time where the SKIMS needs to have updated and modern technique machines saying that performance of old machines usually goes down with the passage of time.

“It is obvious that the machines need to be updated after giving their services. In most of the cases we face difficulty in getting parts of the machines once they get old,” an official said.

He suggests that time has come to change the present setup of machines at the institute. “But this institute needs a separate financial package given its limited budget,” he said.

SKIMS is no doubt one of the finest institutions in the country, with some of the best doctors working in the Institute.

It would be imperative if it is provided with adequate funds to meet its requirements so that it continues to cater to patients who come from far off areas of Jammu and Kashmir and serve them better.

Good quality of equipment available in the Institute would certainly go a long way in helping in meeting the new benchmarks and standards in healthcare delivery, as has been envisaged by the Director.

The government of the time should chip in with all its help to facilitate adequate funding for the Institute so that it continues to live up to its reputation and prestige.

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