At the governing body meeting of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in New Delhi last month, PGI president and Union Health Minister J P Nadda gave his nod to a table agenda about setting up one more PGI satellite centre in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh. The proposal surprised the governing body members, as no one had heard about the plan at the institute. At the meeting, the members were informed that the new centre would come up at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. However, last week Nadda announced that the facility would come up in Una district.
On the other hand, doctors at the PGI Chandigarh said though opening of too many satellite centres was a good idea, the institute should focus on earlier announced projects and improving the existing health facilities of PGI.
The PGI has already announced at least six new health projects for the future.
Dr Arvind Rajvanshi, a senior PGI doctor and head department of cytology, said: “Technically, it is a good idea to open many centres. But the main issue is that from where you will get the manpower and the trained doctors. You can get infrastructure and other facilities, but then you have to get the faculty for these centres as well. Once you come up with a new centre and that too with a link of PGI Chandigarh, then you will have to meet the expectations of the public.”
Another PGI doctor said: “We are witnessing a difficult situation already in Sangrur with regard to get doctors. We are not able to get doctors for those centres, because nobody wants to work in these locations. There is a difference between working in PGI Chandigarh and in a satellite centre. Rather than opening too many centres, the PGI should focus on improving the existing facilities and projects.”
The PGI has recently started a temporary OPD at the Sangrur satellite centre. But officials said they are facing shortage of doctors at the centre, which is recording more than 300 patients a day. Another satellite centre has been announced in Ferozpur district of Punjab.
“It will become difficult for the PGI administration to run all these centres. The PGI Chandigarh is witnessing thousands of patients on a daily basis. The focus should be on the problems faced at the PGI. If there are too many centres, the PGI Chandigarh administration will face problems to manage them,” said a senior PGI official. Dr Subhash Varma, PGI dean, told Chandigarh Newsline that more centres should come up, but giving the name of PGI Chandigarh may not be correct. “There should be independent centres. There could be another PGI, but PGI Chandigarh to my mind from 200 kilometers will not administer things very well. We require autonomous institution which functions same like as PGI. My personal feeling is that Instead of centralization, there should be de-centralisation. The PGI itself has become so big that it sometimes difficult to administer… the kind of supervision required to run the centres may or may not be possible,” he said.
PGI’s faculty association head Dr T D Yadav said the faculty association has no problem with opening multiple centres if the government has separate staff and doctors working in those centres.