According to a report submitted by officials of the health department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the civic-run hospitals, clinics and nursing homes in the city are in a bad shape. The conclusion was reached after conducting surprise checks on the medical facilities. When asked for their take on the state of the civic-run medical facilities after the surprise checks recently, the officials refused to comment.
MiD DAY then filed a query under the Right To Information (RTI) Act and found out the facts. According to the report filed by the health department officials, many such healthcare facilities lack cleanliness, do not follow proper measures with regard to disposal of biomedical waste, some medicines are not in stock, staffers arrive late and some do not have uniforms.
Normally, a few top officials from the PMC’s health department are ordered to carry out surprise checks and report on the various issues related to the hospitals and clinics. There are around 14 maternity homes and 30-plus clinics run by PMC. According to reports, the system is seen paralysed. Reports and comments made by the checking officials at 18 such medical centres conducted in the past four months reveals that cleanliness is a major issue in around eight centres.
The health officials enter their comments in the cleanliness column of their official file. The comments vary and most entered include ‘partially clean clinic/hospital’. As per the report, only the Out Patient Department of Rajiv Gandhi Hospital was clean during a check, while the other two floors were in a bad condition.
The report also reveals that the hospital employees were observed not wearing their uniforms. A follow-up with the department heads revealed that some of the staffers did not even have uniforms. Besides hygiene issues and uniforms, the report also mentions ‘non-availability of medicines’. Reports from checks conducted in November and December last year show less medicine to be top complaint.
One report mentions ‘no vaccine available’ on vaccination day. According to one health inspector’s report, tagging of newborns is not taken seriously, though this is a major concern, as many staffers do not wear uniforms and it is difficult to differentiate between outsiders and staffers.
Treatment of biomedical waste is another major issue. Biomedical waste is being picked up late at night sometimes, or remains on the hospital premises for a few days. One shocking entry states that biomedical waste accumulated over six months had not been cleared or disposed off at Hutatma Babu Genu Hospital in Ravivar Peth. Sidharth Clinic in Vishrantwadi also faced a similar problem, but not for that long.
According to the report, Paul Hospital was fined twice over improper disposal of biomedical waste. Staff reporting late for work followed closely in the reports. One report mentions that a pharmacist had not handed over charge to a replacement for over two months. Doctors were also arriving late and, in one instance, when checking the officials discovered that a staffer was on leave, without submitting a leave application.
When questioned, Anjali Sabne, acting deputy medical officer, PMC, said, “We carry out such checks randomly. And as per the report we get from our officials, we send memos to the staff members responsible for the lapses. We have sent memos and show cause notices to several staff members for coming late and for other related issues.”