10 yrs on, super-specialty hospital non-functional
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10 yrs on, super-specialty hospital non-functional

A decade after the work was started on the prestigious super-specialty hospital here, is yet to be made fully functional despite the fact that human resource and infrastructure are already in place.

A decade after the work was started on the prestigious super-specialty hospital here, is yet to be made fully functional despite the fact that human resource and infrastructure are already in place.

"Delay in operationalising the hospital is hitting patient-care and forcing them to seek treatment in private sector," said an official. "It's unfortunate that out of seven, just one department is running at the super-specialty hospital."

The official said that the department of gastroenterology was shifted to the SSH building from SMHS hospital in March last year. "It has shifted its diagnostic labs and is running OPD services from the SSH building. Other six departments, that had been announced to be set up at SSH, have either divided their staff between SMHS hospital and SSH or are yet to shift the base."

As per the hospital administration, five surgical departments—pediatric surgery, cardiovascular thoracic surgery, urology, neurosurgery and plastic surgery—would be set up at SSH.

"In addition to these departments, two non surgical departments—gastroenterology and nephrology—would also function from the SSH," he added. 

A source said that in the past, the hospital could not be made functional due to incomplete work on civil and mechanical fronts but now while the work is mostly complete, there are other reasons for the delay in "ribbon-cutting".

As per hospital administration, currently, there are 150 paramedical staff and 60 nurses working in the hospital. However, in 2012, 750 paramedics and 300 nurses were recruited for the SSH. Most staff members of the SSH have been deputed at GMC associated hospitals, a hospital source said.

He added that in SMHS hospital alone, at least 300 paramedic employees, hired for super-specialty hospital are posted, keeping the hospital functional.

"GMC-associated hospitals are grossly short of nurses and paramedic staff. If the staff of the SSH is withdrawn from these hospitals, there will be a huge crisis," a senior official in GMC Srinagar said.

The super-specialist doctors recruited for this hospital are currently working in neurosurgery, cardiology, plastic surgery and some others departments at SMHS hospital, the official added.

The Rs 137 crore hospital has been fitted with state-of-art equipment for each of these specialties and has modular theatres to cater to needs of conducting safe and complex surgeries, said an official.

He said, currently, only one theater is functional at the hospital, where each of the five departments is allotted one day a week for carrying out surgeries. For other days, the departments perform surgeries at SMHS hospital theatres.

A source at the hospital said that each department gets to operate upon just "three to four" patients in a week. Six integrated theatres, fitted with state-of-art equipment and advanced infection control systems are yet to be thrown open.

He said that although the building had been handed over long back, flood-damaged equipment of three theatres worth Rs 2.5 crore is yet to be replaced, while the other three theatres are still not fitted with hepa-filters and air-conditioners.

Diagnostic labs, including the ones of department of cardiology are also lying unused as the departments are still running their major services from SMHS hospital.

One of the equipments Digital Subtraction Angiography (DSA), a Rs 12 crore equipment, used to diagnose and manage a number of diseases like tumor of kidney and lungs and vascular diseases, and procured for department of cardiology is lying defunct at the hospital since 2015.

"There are many such facilities that are not being used defeating the very purpose for which the hospital was set-up," a senior faculty member at GMC Srinagar said. He added that it was the lack of these facilities that forced patients from Kashmir to seek treatment in private hospitals outside.

Principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Samia Rashid said that the staff of super-specialty hospital would be "brought back to the original place" and the hospital would be made fully functional. "We are trying to put in place everything including all departments and facilities at the hospital by September 15," she said.

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