AT A time when the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is battling a huge inflow of patients from neighbouring states, the Chandigarh’s Government Medical College & Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, is also facing a similar situation.
Half of the patients who visited GMCH OPD and emergency last year and this year were from neighbouring states, the official figures reveal.
According to the details provided to Chandigarh Newsline by the GMCH authorities, the hospital recorded over five lakh OPD patients in 2016. Out of them, 2.74 lakh (51 per cent) patients were from Chandigarh while the neighbouring states constituted 49 per cent of the patients who visited the institute.
Till September 30 this year, over two lakh patients, which constituted 43 per cent of the total patients, were from Chandigarh while the rest belonged to states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and as far as Bihar.
In the hospital emergency, the maximum number of patients who visited the hospital for treatment in 2016 and up to September 2017 were from different northern states. In 2016, over 35,000 patients were treated at GMCH emergency which constituted 46 per cent of the total patients. Over 50 per cent of the patients from neighbouring states visited GMCH, according to official stats.
This year till September, out of around 79,000 patients at the emergency, the hospital has treated over 30,000 patients who belonged to Chandigarh while the remaining patients belonged to other states.
Doctors believe that the huge number of patients coming from other states is an indication that health facilities in the neighbouring states are not up to the mark.
The director principal of GMCH, Dr A K Janmeja, told Chandigarh Newsline that the peripheral services need to be strengthened. “If the health facilities are improved in the states, then only will serious cases come to us. We keep sending them communication appraising them not to send unnecessary referrals to us, but situation is not improving,” he said. “We are receiving cases which can be easily dealt with in their respective states.”
Janmeja said that GMCH has limited resources and “when the hospital is burdened with such a number of patients, the level of care which is required to the patient is affected”.
At present, there is no defined referral system in Chandigarh or in the states like Punjab and Haryana. “It (referral system) has to be there. In neighbouring states, the patients are supposed to first visit the primary health care level and then the district hospitals. But they are mostly coming to GMCH for treatment,” said Janmeja.
The GMCH recently doubled the emergency by creating an additional emergency ward, and adding 70 more beds to the emergency. The total number of emergency beds is 124 now.