In century-old hostel barracks named T1 in the leafy compound of Sion hospital, resident doctors are still wary of any mishap even though the structure was recently renovated. In 2014, a second year resident Dhruv Sharma had sustained head injuries when a slab from the roof chipped off. The same room currently houses three female doctors.
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“Hostel accommodation is poor. There is always overcrowding. The barracks are the worst place to live,” said Rashmi Prasad, attached with hospital’s ENT department. She is currently housed in the same barrack room. These rooms were earlier used by British army and were later transferred for hospital use. A little renovation after Sharma’s accident has improved the situation, but marginally.
For over 2,000 resident doctors in Mumbai, accommodation continues to remain a perennial problem. In KEM, Sion and Nair hospital, all BMC-run centres, residents continue to complain about need for expansion and upgradation of hostel.
“We are falling short of 30-40 rooms for doctors currently,” said a third year resident from forensic department of Sion hospital. A first year resident, Urvi Kothari, had to share a 200-square-feet room with seven resident doctors for over six months before she was allotted a room to share with two doctors. “There is no space to keep personal belongings. And it is so difficult to live in crowded rooms after a tiring day,” her father said, as he shifted her luggage to the new room.
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Residents attached with government hospitals are expected to work for over 12 hours in a shift and reside in hospital premise for any emergency situation. In Sion hospital, there are three hostels for 513 resident doctors. With living conditions poor, several are also at risk of infection. In September, 17 resident doctors in old RMO hostel, had contracted dengue.
Accommodation and hostel facilities for first year students are worse. “In first year, resident can be urgently called at any hour. We hardly get to go to our rooms, even if we do, we sleep in rotation,” a pediatric resident said. In some room, mattresses can be seen laid on floor which is used in turns to sleep by first year students. Toilets are maintained in poor conditions.
Renovation began in old RMO hostel from October 11. Its 100 rooms will be renovated phase-wise, 20 rooms each. Several doctors have to vacate rooms and adjust in adjoining ones. Few have also sought accommodation outside the hospital due to renovation.
The only hostel in good condition is the new RMO building, housing 100 rooms. “We usually get better rooms by third year,” Dr Anil Jaiswani, general secretary of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors in Sion hospital. The BMC this year has proposed a budget of Rs 350 crore for improving hostel facilities. According to civic department, one hostel for 1,150 students is proposed at Acworth campus for KEM hospital, for 1,048 students at Koliwada for Sion hospital and for 50 students at Haji Ali for Nair Hospital.
The work, however, is yet to begin. Till then, doctors will have to share small spaces to sleep amongst themselves.