Even though in a great deal of pain, 65-year-old S Subbarao stood in line awaiting his turn at the CT scanning lab at the Government General Hospital, Guntur, one of the biggest hospitals in the state of Andra Pradesh. The hospital is an hour’s journey from the secretariat from where state functioning runs.
"The nurse brought me here and left. No one is here and I don't know when my turn will come," said Subbarao, who is being treated for a kidney-related ailment in the hospital. He has to stand in a queue for 3 hours from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
Subbarao is not the only patient who had to stand in a queue in the hospital despite being in pain. 25-year-old Durga Prasad from Guntur town met with a bike accident and had suffered a fracture on his leg. Even though Durga was rushed for CT scan on a stretcher and needed a scan urgently, he was almost the last person standing in the queue.
For 65-year-old Seetamaha Lakshmi, who is suffering from a brain-related ailment, the ordeal was no different. Her daughter Siva Lakhsmi, who had accompanied her, said,"This is the second time they've asked us to come today for scanning. Now they're saying get the slot number from the reporting section. Now, where should we go for that?”
The availability of only one CT scanning machine in the busy hospital has led to patients having to wait their turn causing a delay in treatment.
Sreenivasrao of Ongole, who accompanied his ailing 20-years-old son M Gopi, said, "I have been asked to come back here on the 17th. What is the guarantee that nothing will happen to my boy until then."
When TNM took the matter to the technician in charge of the CT scan lab, she said, "For the whole hospital this is there is only one machine. How much can one technician do? We don't even know when this machine will stop working."
Assistant Resident Medical Officer of the Hospital, Dr Vamsidhar told TNM, "Yes there is only one CT scanning lab in the hospital causing a lot of delay in treatments. In all the units — ECG, X-RAY MRI, radiology — we have only one machine. We have taken the matter up with the government. "
He added, "Even though it is a 1,200 beds hospital we serve more than 2,000 people. There is a genuine need to increase the number of machines and staff as per the increasing flow of patients.
Another doctor in the hospital said, "Higher officials are trying their best to get the equipment. But because of some people who have vested interests and are into the medical and diagnostic business, they are not letting this happen."
For the year of 2017-18 Andhra Pradesh state government allotted Rs 7,020 crores to medical services from the total budget of 1.56 lakh crore.