COIMBATORE: Most of the patients, especially pregnant women, coming to Gudalur government hospital in the Nilgiris district are sent back to Ooty government hospital due to a lack of doctors and other facilities.
Recently a video of a woman from Cherambadi went viral as the Gudalur hospital authorities have asked her to visit Ooty government hospital which is 47 km away to take an X-ray. Sources said that, currently, only one doctor is working at the hospital and two other doctors are on deputation from Coonoor and Annur in the Coimbatore district.
Due to the length of a distance of around 100 km, the doctor from Annur will only reach the hospital after 11 am, leaving the patients in distress. Earlier, the hospital had six doctors including a Gynaecologist. Gudalur Thaluk secretary CK Mani said that he visited the Gudalur hospital a few weeks back after experiencing chest pain and was also forced to visit the Ooty government hospital.
"For the last two months, pregnant women have been referred to Ooty government hospital for delivery due to lack of a gynaecologist. From there, most of these women are sent to Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) due to a lack of emergency treatment facilities at the Ooty government hospital. As a result, to avoid travelling to Ooty and Coimbatore, economically weaker people of the area visit the neighbouring hospital in Wayanad in Kerala which is 40 km away," said Mani.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Gudalur MLA Pon Jayaseelan said that the State government has announced the upgradation of this Thaluk level hospital into a disrict headquarters on the second week of May after repeated requests.
"Since it will take time to improve infrastructure and appoint doctors as per the norms of district headquarters, the health department should appoint at least 14 doctors which is the sanctioned strength for a Thaluk level hospital," he said.
Source in the health department said that they are aware of the issue and a letter has been sent to the Directorate of Medical Education (DMS) to appoint the doctors at the earliest.
Sources added that five doctors were transferred from the Gudalur government hospital to various other primary health centres (PHCs) and only one general medicine doctor is working in the hospital. When contacted, a senior health department official said that the doctors will be appointed through counselling within a couple of weeks.