Odishatv Bureau

At a time when the Odisha government dreams to upgrade SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack into a world-class health institution, the State-run medical facility has miserably failed to cater for the basic needs of patients.

While the premier healthcare institution earned bad name over a number of woes from treatment of patients under torchlight to dearth of beds, now reports of attendants of patients being forced to deposit their mobile phones to avail stretchers and wheelchairs have surfaced. 

As per reports, attendants of many critical patients admitted in trauma casualty of SCB have been seen depositing their cellphones with a private agency to get stretchers and wheelchairs.

The patients who visit the casualty to avail CT scan, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI and other tests need stretchers and wheelchairs to move to different departments. However, the private agency looking after the service has been found asking relatives of patients to deposit their cellphones as security, much to their inconvenience. 

“I have come to the hospital for an X-ray. When I asked for a stretcher, the person at the counter asked me to deposit my cellphone to take the stretcher. I was forced to deposit my mobile to avail a stretcher,” Prakash Chandra Ojha, the relative of a patient said.

Anupama Panda, volunteer, Sahaya which is engaged in providing stretcher service said, “Earlier attendants of patients used to furnish voter ID cards to take stretchers. However, they often dumped the stretchers while leaving the hospital. In some cases, they take stretchers with them while leaving the hospital. Nearly 30 stretchers have been missing over last five years.”

“I have written to the superintendent regarding missing of the stretchers many times. Now, we are forced to keep their cellphones as security thinking they will return the stretchers after use. I know patients face inconvenience due to the process, but we have no other option,” she added.

SCB administrative officer Abinash Rout said, “I have learnt about the practice and held discussions with the superintendent. Steps are being taken to prevent such practice in future.”

“We will supply new stretchers and ensure adequate monitoring of stretchers by caretakers,” he added.