An amount of Rs 1 crore was spent on building a new OPD block for doctors of Fazilka civil hospital last year. The grant came from the border area development fund and the state government hurriedly spent it even though the old OPD block was already in good condition and is now lying vacant.
Doctors at the hospital said they were surprised to know about the decision because they never raised this demand. An intensive care unit (ICU) was also made out of these funds,but neither any equipment has come till now,nor any staff appointed to run it.
When the construction of the new block had just started,we were short of three doctors and the shortage has increased to four. There was no need for the new block,when the old chambers had enough rooms. Doctors were never asked about the requirement. Initially,Rs 30 lakh was spent without any proper specification of the building and later,when medical officers objected,experts from the public works department were asked to make a design. The new building does not even have enough sweepers to keep it clean, said a doctor who did not wish to be named.
The doctors opined that they needed more staff,rather than vacant buildings. On a visit to the old OPD,The Indian Express team found garbage dumped in a few chambers.
While the doctors said recruitment of paramedical staff,more doctors and Class IV staff was required more than a new OPD block,local MLA Surjit Singh Jayani calls the project his major achievement.
When asked about the vacant old OPD block,Senior Medical Officer Dr S P Garg said: We will shortly shift a few departments of the blood bank to the building. I joined this hospital only four months ago. I will chalk out the plan soon.
He added: The ICU will start operations once we are given equipment and staff. The money spent on building the new OPD block was from the border area development fund and hence the health department was not much aware of the developments.
Doctors,meanwhile,urged the state government that it should ask them first about their actual requirements before spending crores on any project related to them.