Udupi, Feb 20, 2015: Construction of the geriatric ward at the District Government Hospital was completed a year ago, but it still lies rusting for want of staff. The ward was constructed at a cost of Rs. 52 lakh on the western side of the District Government Hospital. It has a wing each for male and female patients. Each wing has a provision for three ICU beds and two ordinary beds. Both wings have separate toilet facilities.
The ward also has a waiting room, a nurses resting room, a store and two consultation rooms for doctors. According to District Surgeon H. Anand Naik, the Geriatric Ward was constructed as a pilot project of Union Government taken up in four districts in the State including Udupi to provide focused healthcare treatment to the elderly patients. This ward was constructed by the Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project (KHSDRP), he said. Despite all these facilities, the Ward has not been opened due to lack of staff. According to Dr. Naik, the ward required six staff nurses and two physicians, who had done post-graduation in General Medicine or Geriatrics, a physiotherapist and a counsellor.
As many as 10 bedside lockers, and other related equipments required for the ward costing Rs. seven lakh have been already been provided by the Karnataka Drugs Logistics And Warehouse Society. The electrification of the ward too has been completed and even fans have been installed.
“So far we have got only the physiotherapist and counsellor. But the services of doctors and nurses are essential in this ward. We have been pursuing the matter with the higher officials and urging them to provide the staff,” he said.
Nearly 40 per cent of patients visiting the hospital are senior citizens. A.P. Kodancha, President of Senior Citizens’ Association, said that the government could not delay appointing the staff for the geriatric ward endlessly.
“The elderly cannot be made to wait for healthcare treatment. The staff for the ward should be provided immediately,” he said. Udupi DC R. Vishal said that arrangements would be made to utilize the ward soon. “ I will check if doctors and nurses can be appointed on temporary basis for the ward” he said.