STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A day after STATE TIMES published an exclusive report titled ‘GMC crumbling, in need of intensive care’, highlighting the state of affairs of the Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, Government Medical College, Hospital Jammu, senior officers of J&K CM’s Grievance Cell paid a surprise visit to the department to take stock of treatment facilities and gather feedback from the ailing patients.
Soon after learning about the visit of the high level team, Health Minister Bali Bhagat also arrived on the spot to inspect the treatment facilities being made available to the cancer patients. He was accompanied by the GMC Principal and other senior officers of the Health and Medical Education Department.
Sources informed that the minister asked the visiting members of J&K CM’s Grievance Cell to see the working of GMC’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Cardic Care Unit (CCU) at Super Specialty Hospital (SSH) However, the team members managed to skip in the way, as they wanted to visit the GMC Hospital and SSH premises independently.
It has been reported that the CM’s Grievances Cell team, on reaching the GMC Hospital premises, found no trolley for the patients at the emergency ward. The CM’s team noted the account of some attendants.
RTI activist Som Nath Dabgotra also recorded his statement regarding the hardships being faced by the patients and their attendants.
Meanwhile, during his brief stay in the Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Bali Bhagat inspected the patient care facilities and pointed out several shortfalls.
Former Head of the Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology Prof Ashutosh Gupta was suspended by the Health Minister in July 2017 after he was caught red handed treating patients at his private clinic in Talab Tillo. He was accused of violating ban on private practice by HoDs and diverting poor patients, registered in the GMC, to his private clinic.
Sharing purpose of his visit with the media persons, Bali Bhagat announced the State government has released Rs 56 crores for setting up of Cancer Institute in Jammu in the Super Specialty Hospital Complex.
Ironically, the announcement to set up two cancer institutes, one each in Jammu and Srinagar, was first made public by the former Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in February 2014.
After a long wait, the Centre had approved the proposal and earmarked sum of Rs 240 crores for two cancer institutes.
In June 2016, Health Minister Bali Bhagat had informed the State Assembly that the Centre had sanctioned two new cancer institutes for the State at a cost of Rs 120 crore each.
Replying to a question, the Minister had stated that two cancer institutes would come up at Government Medical College, Jammu and SKIMS, Soura, Srinagar. Besides this, he had stated that three tertiary cancer care centers were being sanctioned by Union Government for establishment in the identified districts at Kupwara, Kishtwar and Udhampur.
At present the State government is yet to begin the construction work of these much needed cancer institutes in the wake of rising number of cases of cancer in the State. Majority of patients go outside the State for treatment due to lack of facilities and specialised doctors.
Last week, when Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made a surprise visit to the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu to take stock of patient care facilities, she had also expressed her unhappiness over general sanitation conditions and other infrastructure support available to the patients across different departments.
Due to paucity of time and breakdown of lift services she could not visit different departments to thoroughly understand the state of affairs in the Medical College, which is catering to patients, converging from all 10 districts of the Jammu division. The Chief Minister had made a surprise visit after receiving several complaints, highlighting the plight of patients and their attendants.
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