Fate of pediatric hospital uncertain as Govt delays decision on key proposals

While the 500-bedded hospital building at Bemina here is nearing completion the government continues to sit on a proposal from Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar for using the upcoming facility entirely for pediatric services.

In October last year, the GMC had proposed to the government that the hospital building, being constructed through central funding as maternity/pediatric hospital be converted into children hospital.

The demand was made in view of gross shortage of space and facilities at 250-bedded GB Pant Hospital which houses the GMC’s pediatric hospital.

The medical college had pointed out “flaws” in the plan to shift children hospital from 250-bedded GB Pant Hospital to a portion of the Bemina building with 200 pediatric beds.

However, while the hospital is nearing completion, an official at the college said no decision has yet been taken on the GMC proposal.

The official said that the delay in taking the crucial decision could result in waste of resources and end up further delaying the project that was taken up in 2011 and was scheduled for completion by 2015.

“If it is a pediatric hospital, it will need to be constructed like that. If it is a maternity hospital, we must construct relevant areas such as labour rooms with attached wash rooms and other facilities,” the official said.

He alleged that the delay by the government to take a decision talks about its failure to get a sanction from Union health ministry regarding conversion of the facility for pediatric use only.

“The issue needed to be taken up by state with Union ministry. But there has been no progress so far,” he said.

On the other hand the GMC is also awaiting a response from authorities at Badami Bagh cantonment board for converting the GB Pant Hospital into a maternity home, said a source.

In October last year, the GMC had said that the proposal of allocating Bemina hospital for pediatrics and subsequently GB Pant Hospital for maternity care had been shared with the Board.

However, the source said the Board hasn’t responded to the proposal yet. “The uncertainty is affecting the prospect of having a full-fledged and well equipped children hospital in Kashmir,” he said.

Principal GMC Prof Samia Rashid said the government was yet to take a call on the proposal about Bemina hospital. She said the cantonment board has also not responded to the proposal.

“We had a meeting with Advisor last time. The issue was discussed and Government seemed to be alright with the proposal (to use Bemina building as pediatric facility),” she said.

The GMCs pediatric hospital had been shifted “temporarily” from Hazuri Bagh to GB Pant Hospital in 2006 to pave way for expansion of Lal Ded Hospital.

Currently, the lone pediatric hospital in Kashmir operating from GB Pant Hospital caters to healthcare needs of over 30 lakh children. The hospital is facing acute shortage of space and infrastructure, affecting healthcare delivery.