Lack of wheelchairs irks patients at SKIMS

Patients at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) suffer owing to lesser number of wheelchairs for ferrying them to different facilities at the tertiary care institute.

According to official data around 3,700 to 3,800 patients visit the hospital’s OPD every day, besides 500 to 600 cases at its emergency department.

However, many patients and their attendants complained about inadequate number of wheelchairs especially at the OPD.

“I searched for a wheelchair in entire corridor of the ground floor but couldn’t find a single chair. Left with no option I ferried the patient on my back to the OPD,” said a youth accompanying his father, Nisar Ahmad from uptown area of Srinagar.

A cardiac patient, Ahmad visit hospital regularly for regular check up.  He is often accompanied by his son and daughter.  “This problem (lack of wheelchairs) continues,” said Hakeem, while sitting on the pavement outside the hospital’s OPD section.

Another attendant Bashir Ahmad Wani was accompanying his elderly mother Malla who is suffering from throat problem.

“I make it sure to reach here before 10 in the morning. Otherwise, you won’t find any wheelchairs around. As rush increases wheelchairs disappear,” said Wani from Anantnag’sBijebehara town.

However, the SKIMS Medical Superintendent DrFarooq Jan said the hospital has adequate number of trolleys and wheelchairs.”The problem is the deficiency of manpower. The wheelchairs remain available in the emergency throughout the day,” he said.

He said the hospital has 300 to 400 trolleys and around 150 wheelchairs.  “We recently received 50 fresh trolleys for the emergency,” said Dr Jan.

He said once a patient is ferried to OPD or a Ward the attendant rarely brings the wheelchair back to let others use it.

“We have now put two employees on the job who get the wheelchairs back from OPD and wards so that others can sue them,” he said.