GUWAHATI, April 24 - On paper, the State government might be seen persuading the poor to avail the public health service, but in reality it seems to be aiding the private players instead!
The poor state of affairs in the 23 civil hospitals, which cater to lakhs of patients from the remotest parts of the State, certainly reflects that.
Contrary to the tall claims made by the health department, the ground reality is that the government has failed to ensure supply of crucial diagnostics film or images meant for ultrasound examination, to the civil hospitals in the State.
Even the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH), an annexe of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), is no exception.
Unavailability of the ultrasound film (images) assumes crucial significance when it comes to pregnant women and those diagnosed with gallbladder and kidney stones who are the worst sufferers.
Sources in the health department divulged that not a single civil hospital in the State has been provided with the diagnostic film (images) for more than a year now, leaving the hospital setup in an embarrassing situation.
�Further, it also adds on to the ordeal of the patient, if the report points towards any complication. While some of them, depending on the proximity, go to the medical college and hospitals, majority of them opt for private setups for obvious reasons,� sources told this reporter.
�No wonder why the private diagnostic centres are mushrooming like anything,� the sources rued.
�Further, whenever a case is referred to a medical college from the civil or district hospital, the doctors there insist on an ultrasound image to go ahead with the treatment. For many doctors, the image is the main point of reference,� a senior radiologist said requesting anonymity.
�In a way, the same person is made to follow the same diagnostic procedure twice. And one can easily guess how time consuming it can get keeping in view the rush in the medical colleges. This directly affects the pocket of the common man, who is indirectly compelled to head towards the private diagnostic centre which charges exorbitant rates,� he pointed out.
Although a slew of ambitious health schemes are being announced in the State, in reality, the health department is struggling to put even the basic diagnostic requirements in place, especially those meant for the poor.
Sources further informed that some of the civil hospitals are buying the films from various private sources.
�Patients do ask for diagnostic films. This leaves the hospital authorities in an embarrassing situation,� sources added.