Work on repairing structure, electrical systems, furniture and oxygen pipelines for six wards begins on Tuesday
Renovation work being carried out at KEM Hospital on Tuesday
While CM Eknath Shinde’s surprise visit on Monday expedited much-needed repair work in six wards at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, the facility’s officials informed mid-day that they had been requesting the BMC’s Hospital Infrastructure Cell (HIC) to do the same for months. “The repair works are carried out by the HIC and have nothing to do with the hospital administration. The details were not finalised at their end,” a hospital source said.
The hospital had made multiple calls to the department over the past few months, which did not yield a satisfactory outcome. The wards in question—4, 4A, 6, 7, 11 and 12—will now undergo renovations, including repair work, fixing electrical systems and installing new furniture and medical oxygen pipelines. Minor work started on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at the civic-run facility on Monday night
Earlier, the plan was to carry out the work on each of these wards separately. Explaining the reason behind the delay, a BMC health department official said, “After evaluating the situation, it was found that there were additional tasks that needed to be done.” BMC officials stated that the work was anyway scheduled to commence next week. “We prioritised it after the CM sir pointed it out,” an official said.
In January, mid-day highlighted how patients, doctors and medical staff at KEM had been risking their lives for the past three years, as a 2019 structural audit had revealed that the same six wards were in need of structural repair work. The audit report was submitted in 2021, but no action had been taken until February 2023. Two of the six rooms were medicine wards while one was for emergency patients and the other three were general surgery (male), general male and female wards. They remained closed for several months following mid-day’s report.
Renovation work going on at KEM
Collectively, the wards have the capacity to accommodate 450 patients. In light of their closure, the hospital has been using four medical wards at Sewri’s TB hospital to provide treatment to patients from KEM. During his visit, Shinde also interacted with several patients and took note of their concerns. His visit comes just days after 18 deaths occurred within 18 hours at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital in Thane, which caused a political uproar, as Thane is the leader’s home turf.