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 their turn. A well-illuminated corridor outside is swarmed with legion of sick men, women and children all waiting for their turn.
Even after several hours the scene is same here.
Located just a short walk from Gole Chakri, the nerve centre of the town, this nearly four-decade-old hospital invariably finds itself short-handed.
The hospital, according to an official, receives at least 800 to 900 patients a day. The hospital faces shortfall of both medical and paramedical workforce.
The present staff strength no way qualifies the facility for the 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 consultant paediatrician are lying vacant.
In dentistry department, one post of dental surgeon against the three sanctioned posts is yet to be filled.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the sanctioned strength of the medical officers is seven which is too low to tackle the huge patient inflow.
“A 100-bed district hospital that this is should have at least 15-20 medical officers,” said a doctor who did not wish to be named.
Important posts like Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Urology and Dermatology have never been created for the hospital. “In absence of these specialists, we have to send the patients to tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar, almost a two-hour drive from here. The critical patients more often than not waste their golden hours on the way,” said the doctor, adding that local residents umpteen times vented their spleen but to no avail.
The curtains, however, did not fall here. The chronic paucity of paramedical staff also adds to the bedlam in the hospital. The slots of x-ray technicians (head and junior), theatre technician, junior staff nurses, nursing orderlies, head ophthalmologist technician, head lab technician, junior dental assistant EMPHWs among others are yet to be filled.
The hospital is also ill-equipped. It sans critical facilities like the CT Scan and MRI.
“The patients have to rush down to Srinagar for want of these facilities,” said the sources.
Medical Superintendent Shopian, Dr G.M Bhat conceded that they were running short of staff. He, however, said that with the help of local administration many new facilities have been added to the hospital. “We established a blood storage unit and introduced many facilities including digital x-ray, colonoscopy and endoscopy,” he said.