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Eight months after massive protests rocked the state-run Osmania General Hospital (OGH) and later Gandhi Hospital over doctors being assaulted by attendants of patients, and issues of poor security, insufficient surveillance and back door entry for patients’ attendants by bribing security guards were raised by medicos, the scenario remains largely the same at most state-run hospitals.

In fact, entry for more than one attendant per patient is as easy as before. The only thing that has changed is the bribe amount, which has gone up, say insiders. “Constables now demand Rs 300 per person to let them into the wards. These people are becoming more corrupt by the day,” said Rubina, who came to get her mother admitted at OGH. The presence of more attendants per patient also means that patients without attendants or with less number of attendants are being neglected.

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“Since there are 4-5 doctors to attend to 20-25 patients at a go, patients with a larger number of attendants are able to pressurize the doctor to see their patient first,” said a patient’s attendant at Niloufer. While on the one hand unabated corruption is a headache for attendants, it is a cause of concern for the doctors too.

“When a group of attendants manages to get into the ward by paying bribes, the pressure on the attending doctors shoots up. Over the last three months, there have been several incidents of mobs entering wards and doctors having to rush outside and call the police for help,” said Dr Harish Puntikura, vice president, Junior Doctors Association, Gandhi Hospital unit.

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He added that the security and surveillance situation hasn’t changed a bit despite the promises made by the health department. “There has been no increase in the number of surveillance cameras although the number of constables have increased slightly. However, they are usually not present in the wards and stay put at outposts, which is why they can’t do anything to curb mob behaviour,” he added.

The long standing demand for ‘special protection forces’ at these hospitals has not been met yet.

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The state health department should put in place strict laws to stop unwanted visitors from sneaking into hospitals. In view of several attacks on duty doctors and nurses in the past, the Telangana government should strongly enforce safety and security in all state-run hospitals. Also, special attention must be given when doctors are treating critical and emergency cases. #KhabarLive