Srinagar: In order to improve access and delivery of specialty health services and reduce load on tertiary care hospitals, J&K Government has initiated the process to create round-the-clock health centers in peripheral areas.
Additional Chief Secretary J&K Government, Health and Medical Education, Vivek Bhardwaj while speaking to Greater Kashmir said that the Directorates of Health Services in both Jammu and Kashmir divisions had been directed to initiate the process of extending the time specialty services are available in peripheral hospitals, especially district hospitals.
He acknowledged the fact that across J&K, maternity, pediatrics, emergency and trauma, surgery, cardiology etc were unavailable after the OPD hours. He said steps were being taken to create a system where in every area of the UT, there would be some centres where these specialties would run round the clock. “This way, the need for referrals would be reduced,” he said.
Bhardwaj said to begin with Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Pediatrics, emergency and trauma would be prioritized. “Our aim is to create well equipped, well staffed specialty Centers in Peripheral areas, preferably at district hospital level,” he said.
Director General Health, Family Welfare and Immunization Dr Saleem ur Rehman, who also holds the additional charge of Director Health Services Jammu said the plan was being successfully implemented in two districts already.
“We have started evening clinics in Gandhi Nagar Hospital and in Udhampur District Hospital,” he said, adding that the specialist services were being tuned in other districts as well to cater to the patient load after the OPD hours.
“We have a good strength of specialists in many hospitals and we are innovating ways in which their services could be used to improve healthcare delivery,” he said.
Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed said that round the clock maternity services had been operationalised in Chadoora Budgam. “We are aiming to make eight specialties available 24 x 7 at sub-district hospital level across Kashmir division,” he said.
The Directorate has constituted a committee to ‘oversee the process of starting 24 x 7 services’ in the specialties mentioned. “These departments are essential and by making these available at all hours, we will eliminate the need to refer a case, except if there is a grave complication,” he said.
The Chief Medical Officers and Medical Superintendents have been directed to prepare a roaster and logistics to ensure this.
The tertiary care hospitals in J&K have been reeling under the load of what has been termed as unnecessary referrals. In the past also, the Government had issued directions for reducing referrals.
However, since pediatrics, maternity and emergency services are unavailable in most hospitals of J&K after 4 pm, barring the tertiary care, the specialty hospitals in Srinagar suffer patient load.