By: Vivek Gupta
If everything goes as per plan, city government hospitals and dispensaries will soon have evening OPDs in next three to four months.
The proposal for starting evening OPDs has been pending for several years. Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 started evening OPDs in several of its departments but the experiment did not work due to shortage of manpower.
According to sources, the administration has decided in principle to have evening OPDs, and both the health department and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation have been directed to work out the manpower required to run these OPDs, including doctors and paramedical staff.
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The city has two major hospitals: Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Government Multi- Speciality Hospital, Sector 16 — and three civil hospitals in Manimajra, Sector 22 and Sector 45 besides 23 dispensaries which are under the Chandigarh MC.
Home-cum-health secretary Anurag Agarwal said that the manpower was the main challenge in starting the evening OPDs in these healthcare centres.
To overcome this, the administration has decided to hire retired medical doctors on a contract basis. The hiring process will start once overall manpower and budget requirement is finalised and duly approved by the UT administrator.
Agarwal said that with this move, patients would no longer have to restrict themselves to the morning hours. It would also reduce the burden on morning OPDs. Currently, OPDs are closed after 2 pm.”Our effort is to make OPD continue from 3 pm to 8 pm which will bring a major change in local health services,” he said.
As per him, the administration has no dearth of funds for such people-friendly steps as assured by Adviser to Administrator Vijay Dev in recent meetings.
X-RAY/blood sampling in dispensaries too
The administration has also taken up a proposal to start radiology services, including X-ray and blood sampling facilities, in at least five dispensaries, the locations of which are being worked out. Agarwal said in his recent visit to the city’s dispensaries, he was told that at least 60-70 per cent patients were asked to get X-rays and blood tests done outside.
With no such facilities in dispensaries, the patients end up landing either in GMCH-32 or GMSH-16, increasing the patient rush there. “Therefore, we are seriously pursuing the matter to have X-ray/blood test facility in dispensaries. Facilities will be free for BPL card holders. For others, rates will be subsidized,” he said.
“It will start in five dispensaries first and then will be taken up in other primary health institutions.” According to him, the proposal has already been approved to provide X-RAY, CT scan, MRI and ultrasound in Manimajra civil hospital.