CUTTACK: The shortage of guides at SCB Medical College and Hospital has emboldened brokers who divert patients from the premier government healthcare facility of the State to different private hospitals. Around 7,000 patients visit the hospital’s OPD daily. The hospital, which has 2,052 indoor beds in 34 departments, is spread over 85 acres. In a bid to help patients who come to the hospital for treatment, the State government started hiring guides and two posts were created back in 1961.
Sources said, initially, Dhruba Charan Sarangi and Swarnalata Das were appointed as guides at the hospital. After their retirement, Dhaneswar Nayak and Henabal Behera were given the responsibility in 1993. After Nayak’s death and Behera’s superannuation, two women were posted as guides at the hospital. However, instead of guiding patients to appropriate departments, the two have been posted at the Superintendent’s office for the last few years.
Though location maps have been put near the two gates of the hospital, they are not enough to guide the patients who visit the facility from different parts of the State. In such a scenario, a large number of patients fall prey to brokers who lure them into availing themselves of treatment at private hospitals and clinics with the promise that the treatment there will be cheaper than SCB. Once a patient is admitted to a private hospital, the broker gets his/her commission and the patients are then fleeced with exorbitant bills.
Over 50 brokers and middlemen have been arrested from the hospital in the last year. What’s worrying is that several of them were found working in the hospital on an outsourcing basis. SCB administrative officer Dr Abinash Rout who did not comment on the engagement of guides at the Superintendent’s office, however, said the issue will be resolved soon after the engagement of Swasthya Mitras and the implementation of the Odisha Nirmal Scheme.