As the resident medical doctors began their strike in Gujarat seeking better wages,the media was barred from entering government hospitals without written permission. The onus is now on hospital officials and security personnel,who will be fined Rs 500 if they allow mediapersons to enter the premises.
The State Health department said the order had been issued to protect the “dignity” of patients. State Health Secretary,Ravi Saxena said,”No dignified person would like to be photographed while recuperating in a hospital. I have noticed that poor patients are unnecessarily being subjected to questions and are being photographed against their will. The superintendents of all government hospitals have been authorized to speak to the media on behalf of the hospital and that should be good enough for the media.”
While hospital services have been affected in Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital,kin of many patients complained that they had been turned away on Tuesday night and asked to seek private medical care.
Around 3,000 strong resident doctors went on a strike on Thursday morning at 8 am,derailing hospital services across the state. Special written orders to restrict the media from entering have been handed over to security personnel at all government and district hospitals across the state.
As per the written order signed by the medical superintendent of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital,MM Anchalia,entry to any ward will be allowed only after a written form is filled up and submitted with her. Permission will be granted to mediapersons at the medical superintendent’s discretion,and that too only for three hours and in the company of a security personnel or official. Moreover,if any doctor or official is interviewed,the concerned person’s signature will be taken on a copy of the interview and sent to the CMO and the hospital’s Public Relations Officer.
While government hospitals in Ahmedabad discharged all their patients and finished off surgeries by Wednesday night; patients have complained about not being admitted into hospitals. Patients at the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run VS Hospital and Civil Hospital have also been asked to ‘co-operate’ and go to private doctors.
Geeta Kurvah,a resident of Ahmedabad complained that her sister Nita had been sent away from the Civil Hospital. She said,”My sister has a bad stomachache when we bought her here at 1.30 in the night. The doctors gave her an injection purchased by us and turned her away. We again brought her here in the morning and have been waiting ever since then for doctors to attend to her.”
Another patient,Sonaji Marwadi,who had come down from Rajasthan for treatment has been camping outside the OPD since yesterday.
The Ahmedabad government hospital authorities,however,insist things are running smoothly. Anchalia said,”There is an order from the higher ups but you can fill in a form available at the gate.”
However,about an hour after sending then form to the superintendent,the Security Incharge of the hospital,Vasu Rabari said the superintendent had denied entry.