Lack of diagnostic equipment, shortage of technical personnel and time constraints are forcing patients going to important government hospitals in Hyderabad to opt for private diagnostic centres and shell out money in the process.

Take the case of Osmania General Hospital, one of the major tertiary healthcare facilities in the city. Every day, the microbiology laboratory at the hospital stops collecting samples by 3 pm. Besides, the emergency laboratory —that works 24-hours —does not conduct microbiology tests such as Hepatitis-B Surface Antigen.

Hence, patients coming post noon are forced to opt for diagnostic services at private labs. These issues shot to spotlight recently after junior doctors at Gandhi Hospital had staged a protest.Similarly, the government general and chest hospital in Erragadda does not have a CT scanning machine.

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If patients there are in need of diagnosis they have to go to Osmania General Hospital thrice —first time to register their name and get the date for test, second time for the examination and third to collect reports. Sources said the hospital staff have been using a 20-year-old diagnostic equipment. Apart from this, official sources estimate that the number of patients have increased substantially in the past few months —in-patients from 160 to 260 and out-patients from 250 to 450 on a daily basis.

Most patients who come here are farmers, quarry workers and construction labourers. Lung diseases are a primary occupational hazard among these people. “Sugarcane, flower farmers and quarry workers face similar problems,” say sources. CT Scans are the most effective way to diagnose lung diseases. In Petlaburj Maternity Hospital, ultrasound tests are not performed for out-patients in the hospital. Superintendent S Nagamani says they have an MoU with Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) and two sonographers have been allotted for the same.

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However, KhabarLive has learnt that both the sonographers have been promoted and transferred. For the past 15 days, at least, out-patients spend money at private labs. “From Tuesday, we will allot a Radiologist to do the Ultrasound tests,” Dr Nagamani said.
Another issue at government hospitals is the lack of lab technicians. The State government is in the process of recruiting 200 lab technicians to fill the vacancies.

Sources said that when they charted the requirement of lab technicians based on number of patients getting admitted in government hospital, they got to know that a whopping 700 personnel are required. “We received cabinet approval for 700 lab technicians. Finance department will chart the budget needed to recruit them. These 700 technicians is additional to the 200 being recruited now,” sources said.

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When asked about the plight of patients, OGH superintendent B Nagendar said they were currently renovating the Casualty Ward and it’s likely to be completed in two weeks. Superintendent of Chest Hospital Dr Mahaboob Khan said, “I took the concerns to the notice of Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy and TSMIDC managing director R Venugopal Rao. They assured to provide CT Scan machine, Ultrasound machine, within a few days of filing indent.” #KhabarLive