Kashmir’s tertiary care hospitals overburdened

In 2022, district hospitals referred 15,000 cases to Srinagar hospitals
File photo of Srinagar's tertiary care hospital, SMHS. [Image for representational purpose only]
File photo of Srinagar's tertiary care hospital, SMHS. [Image for representational purpose only] Mubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: As many as 15,000 referral cases from district hospitals have been received at the tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar during the year 2022, putting an extra burden on them.

According to the official figures, of the 15,000 cases since January 1, 2022, over 9600 referral cases have been received at Lal Ded maternity hospital, about 3000 cases at SMHS hospital, and around 2500 cases at CD Hospital.

Last month, at least 950 referral cases were registered at LD hospital while SMHS received 245 cases and CD Hospital 200 cases.

According to officials, these figures include both “justified” as well as “unjustified” referral cases.

“Justified cases are genuine in which patients have complications but some cases are unjustified in which patients can be treated at the district hospitals. We have a huge flow of patients and these referral cases add more burden to the tertiary care hospital in the city,” officials said.

Medical Superintendent at Lal Ded Hospital, Dr Muzaffar Hussain Sherwani told Greater Kashmir that the hospital receives referral cases from peripheries as well.

He said that some patients develop gynaecological complications which are not being managed at the district hospitals and in the peripheries.

“Some patients with complications need a consultation with a cardiologist, neonatologist, and even a surgeon. This is why some patients are being referred to the tertiary care hospitals,” he said.

Dr Sherwani said that the LD hospital used to receive most referral cases from Budgam and Anantnag districts.

“These cases are both justified and unjustified referral cases. Some patients from different districts visit LD hospital on their own,” he said.

Dr Sherwani said that there was a first referral unit in every block and the district hospitals but these referral units were mostly being ignored.

Medical Superintendent at SMHS hospital Dr Muzaffar Zargar told Greater Kashmir that on average over 10 referral cases from different district hospitals are registered at the hospital.

“We mostly receive justified cases. Some cases are unjustified. But we have all the facilities in our district hospitals. Earlier, more referral cases were registered at the hospital but somehow the cases have been reduced,” he said.

Earlier this year, all the health institutions of J&K were asked to submit a monthly report of referrals from the Directorates of Health Kashmir and Jammu and the Government Medical Colleges of Srinagar and Jammu.

The government has also asked the hospitals to curb the practice of referrals as it puts a huge load on the tertiary care institutions besides under-utilisation of district-level manpower and facilities.

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