Overloaded GB Pant Hospital looming risk for patients

Owing to its limited capacity and infrastructure, Kashmir’s lone tertiary care pediatric facility, GB Pant Hospital, continues to work under duress. The problem is compounded with the delay in commissioning of the new children’s hospital at Bemina.

The new hospital building has suffered years of delays with successive governments failing to operationalise the ambitious project, commissioned in 2012 as GoI funded ‘Mother and Child Hospital’.

In 2015, the project was re-named as 500 bedded Children’s hospital in view of the gross space and infrastructure deficiencies at 200 bedded GB Pant Hospital. However, over the years, the project has suffered delays, further deteriorating the scenario.

GB Pant Hospital is the sole paediatric tertiary care facility for over 30 lakh children in the region and the dilapidated state of its facilities, crammed wards and other patient areas have been a concern for long.

A senior doctor said the fact that quite often the patients, including neonates are made to share beds, incubators and cribs due to the rush that the hospital finds difficult to accommodate in the existing capacity.

“In such a setting, where we are putting three infants in a space meant for one, how confident can one be of not having cross infections,” the doctor said. He said that in addition, the hospital lacked spaces for paediatric specialties needed in case of emergencies.

“If a child comes to us with acute appendicitis, we can’t treat him or her where, we refer to SMHS Hospital or SKIMS,” he said while citing an example of how the lack of surgical set-up was hitting the patient care.

The GB Pant Hospital has also been criticized for its defunct air circulation system and non-existing basic amenities.

The new hospital has been envisaged to have paediatric sub specialties such as Surgery, Ophthalmology, Nephrology, Psychiatry, Gastroenterology among others, Dr Muzaffar Jan, Professor and head department of paediatrics at GMC Srinagar said. He said the new hospital was “now in sight” and said the medical college was closely coordinating with the Government on the upcoming hospital. “Currently, we are trying to use the GB Pant Hospital as well as possible,” he said adding that the human resource was well trained to “optimize” the resource.

Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo said the Government was positive that the hospital would be made operational by August. “If everything goes well, the building will be handed over to us in June this year. We have even set in motion the recruitment process for the new children’s hospital. Initially we will be hiring around 300 people across levels,” he said.