CUTTACK: Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC), the only Government-run cancer-speciality hospital of the State, has suspended several key diagnostic services owing to acute shortage of staff.
As unconceivable it might be, basic diagnostic procedures as biopsy, cytology tests, FNAC tests and haematological investigations have been drastically cut down with the Department of Onco-Pathology slipping into a state of coma.
Onco-Pathology forms the core of any cancer setup as it conducts tests to determine the malignancy of all types of tumours. But unfortunately at AHRCC, the sole refuge of poor patients not only from Odisha but also from neighbouring states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, the Department is struggling to function with only one doctor at present.
With Professor and Head of the Department Dr Niranjan Rout going on leave a fortnight back, the entire burden is being shouldered by Associate Professor Dr Sagarika Samantray. The Department on a normal day conducts more than 200 diagnostic tests in biopsy, cytology along with a vast range of haematological tests. But now with the sole doctor not able to handle the load, tests have been curtailed.
The Department has sanctioned one professor, one associate professor and two assistant professor posts. The posts of the assistant professor have been lying vacant for years. There has not been any effort to appoint senior residents in such a vital Department even though 10 were recruited for other wings of the hospital.
It is not possible for one doctor to shoulder all the load as the 240-bed AHRCC sees an inflow of more than 100 out-patients daily coupled with the indoor admissions, said an insider. These apart samples, sent from outside for external review, also add to the load.
According to sources, the hospital authorities have taken up the matter with the Government. While calling for urgent steps to recruit staff, the authorities have sought immediate deputation of pathologists from other hospitals, sources said.