Looking back 2023 Health: Lapses with standards aside, strides taken in healthcare : The Tribune India

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Looking back 2023 Health: Lapses with standards aside, strides taken in healthcare

Looking back 2023 Health: Lapses with standards aside, strides taken in healthcare

Principal Secretary, Health, Vivek Pratap Singh during his visit to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital.



Manav Mander

While healthcare is among the biggest responsibilities of the government, this sector faced many ups and downs during the year. The opening of new Aam Aadmi Clinics and availibility of new facilities at the district hospital was something to cheer about but at the same time, the death of an unidentified man after he fell off a stretcher at the civil hospital rocked the department.

Here is a look at at some highs and lows from the health sector in the year 2023

Rush of patients at Aam Aadmi Clinic in Kidwai Nagar. File Photos

The Lows
Preventable death

Health Department was taken to task after an unidentified person died after falling off a stretcher on August 27. An inquiry was marked into the matter by Chief Secretary of Punjab. Three employees were suspended by the department and the noose was tightened around the staff of the hospital, following which seven house surgeons and one medicine specialist resigned. On September 25, Principal Secretary (Health) Vivek Pratap Singh visited the civil hospital to analyse the complete setup and issued the Standard Operating Procedure.

Blatant corruption

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) arrested Dr Poonam Goel, senior medical officer (SMO), Sahnewal, and Dr Gaurav Jain, BAMS doctor, both posted at the community health centre (CHC) in Sahnewal, while accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000. The duo had sought the bribe from a chemist with the threat of sealing his shop. The incident brought bad name to the department.

MCH expansion work

The work for the expansion of Mother and Child Hospital, underway since 2022, is pending. It was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, but seeing the state of the peoject, the deadline was extended to March 2024. However, a visit to the hospital site to assess the progress suggests that the deadline will be missed yet again. The 100-bed hospital is being upgraded to 200 beds

Contractual staff & salaries

Contractual employees had to suffer as they did not receive their salaries for three months. They went on an indefinite strike in May, demanding the immediate release of the pending salaries. Hospital services were disrupted as 92 employees went on strike.The Highs

ICU lies non-functonal

During his visit to the city in October, the Health Minister had announced that the ICU at Ludhiana Civil Hospital would become functional within two months. However, it is yet to see the light of day. He had also promised to get the lifts at the hospital functional, but this too has not materialised. The ICU unit at the hospital is lying non-functional for want of staff.

The Highs
Strengthening healthcare

This year, 66 Aam Aadmi Clinics were opened, taking the total count of clinics to 75, out of which 49 are in urban areas and 26 in rural areas. These clinics strengthen the health infrastructure as they are offering around 38 diagnostic lab tests to patients free of cost, while nearly 80 different types of medicines are also being provided.

Free dialysis at UCHC

A free dialysis facility was started at the Urban Community Health Centre, Jawaddi, under the PPP model at this a 25-bed facility. This offered great respite for the patients as the Ludhiana Civil Hospital is overburdened. The civil hospital also provides free services, but it is only a three-bed facility. On average, 130-150 dialysis procedures are conducted per month at the civil hospital.

Echocardiography a boon

The echocardiography service at the Ludhiana Civil Hospital received good response. Specialists from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital visit the hospital every Saturday. With the help of DMCH specialists, this service was resumed after a gap of four years. Nearly 25 patients avail of this service every week. At Rs 250, the fee is nominal, significantly lower than the Rs 2000-2500 charged by private practitioners.

Latest tech at hospital

The civil hospital got a 5-step LED-enabled ENT operating microscope, and a five-part hematology analyser (H560) was also installed at the main laboratory. This equipment was acquired through a CSR initiative. The ENT operating microscope is useful in almost all otological surgeries. Up to 20 otological surgeries are performed every month with the help of this microscope. The new hematology analyser is better in splitting differential counts, helping physicians in better diagnosis and management of patients. Around 150 CBC tests are being done daily with this instrument.

Super speciality services

Super speciality services were started at the UCHC at Jawaddi this year. The Health Department collaborated with the Indian Medical Association to provide super-specialty health services there. A private sector cardiologist visits the civil hospital on Mondays and Thursdays. A neurosurgeon makes a visit every Friday, while a medical specialist visits the facility every Tuesday.

#Aam Aadmi Clinics


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