If suffering from a kidney ailment wasn’t a bad-enough burden to bear, patients being treated at the NMMC-run First Referral Unit hospital (FRUH) in Navi Mumbai, are forced to endure a torturous wait each time they visit the hospital for dialysis since the past few months.
The hospital currently has only one technician, who has been tasked with operating their centre’s eight dialysis machines, and the staff crunch is reportedly taking a huge toll on its patients. Despite knowing that the centre is ill staffed, NMMC has not initiated any recruitment process to employ additional technicians in the last two months.
A member of the standing committee has alleged that the NMMC administration is planning to privatise the dialysis centre, which could further add to the problems these patients are currently facing.
FRUH sees a considerable number of patients everyday, as it is the only government hospital in the city with advanced facilities, including dialysis machines.
Currently, 17 patients visit the dialysis centre on an average and though NMMC incurs expenses of around Rs 4,000 to 5,000 per patient for each dialysis, it charges patients a mere Rs 150 for the process. The centre had two technicians earlier, but one reportedly quit because of low wages. NMMC claims that it is currently looking for suitable candidate for the posts.
Ramesh Nikam, medical officer of NMMC, said, “Although it is true that we do not have enough technicians to operate the dialysis machines, we are still able to carry out dialysis services efficiently.
We have nurses and physicians who can take care of things in the absence of a technician. Also, we are looking for suitable candidates for the post.”
As per NMMC guidelines, a technician gets a salary of Rs 7,000 per month while private hospitals pay technicians over Rs 12,000 per month. M K Madhavi, member of NMMC standing committee, said, “It is surprising that NMMC is not recruiting technicians since the past two months.
The salary offered to technicians at the dialysis centre is meagre compared to that of private hospitals. So nobody is taking up the job at FRUH.” He alleged that the NMMC administration is planning to have the centre run by a private agency.