Mumbai: Infirm seniors to get a visit from civic docs

Oct 02, 2018, 13:20 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Nod for proposal to have doctors, nurses visit elders in Mumbai who are unable to visit hospitals for diagnosis and tests

Mumbai: Infirm seniors to get a visit from civic docs
Corporator Saeeda Khan

Doctors from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation-run (BMC) hospitals will, for the first time, come knocking on the doors of senior citizens for medical diagnoses. If everything goes as per plan, doctors and nurses from nearby BMC-run peripheral hospitals and dispensaries will visit senior citizens who find it difficult to seek out diagnosis and pathological tests owing to physical limitations.

Doctors and nurses, however, are not too enthused by the plan, saying this would put further pressure on the already short-staffed civic-run hospitals and dispensaries. In 2012, a proposal to this effect was floated by Dr Saeeda Khan, corporator, L ward, in the public health committee. It was approved last week.

'She can't even walk'
Rita Salvi, an 85-year-old cardiac patient, was admitted to KEM hospital for several weeks after she suffered a second heart attack. She was discharged on Saturday but was recommended several medical diagnosis to determine her line of treatment. However, owing to the heart attack, she has paralysis on the right-side of her body. Her family is facing much trouble trying to get her to a diagnostic centre for the tests.

"Owing to her health condition, she can't walk, and as she is extremely heavy, it is hard to carry her to a diagnostic centre. We can't even afford to get it done from a private centre as it costs a lot of money. Our financial condition is not good," said Manoj Salvi, her son who works in a medical store at Parel.

Comes with rider
Speaking to mid-day, Khan said, "Under Aapli Chiktisa Yojana, doctors and nurses working in BMC dispensaries, hospitals and units from the nearby locality will visit senior citizens for diagnosis and to conduct a medical examination at their doorstep free of cost. But this will apply only for senior citizens who are completely bedridden and can't access healthcare physically."

As BMC is in the process of transferring all medical records online through a centralised system, medical reports of these patients will be updated online so doctors at any BMC-run medical institute can access them at a click of a button.

Activists working with senior citizens commended the effort. "This initiative will certainly help ensure better healthcare for senior citizens, but they need to make sure the corporation has enough manpower for this," said Prakash Borgaonkar, director, Help Age.

'Where's the staff for this?'
Dr Ravindra Singh, a health activist, said lack of infrastructure and manpower has seen several BMC initiatives die in infancy. "This is a good initiative but does BMC have the technology or strength to implement it fully? There are thousands of senior citizens who would be eager to benefit from this. But, if doctors and nurses go to diagnose these patients, who will cater to emergency patients coming to hospitals?" he said.

A nurse from Bhabha Hospital said lack of staff meant they have to do overtime to cater to patients and this proposal will add on to their burden. "BMC also needs to focus on the work pressure of medicos. There are many things that need to be considered before implementing something like this. Remuneration will also have to increase. Will the staff be paid more if he/she helps diagnose a patient at home?" she said.

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