We have heard of hospitals closing down due to paucity of doctors on duty, but a Palghar government hospital in Satpati, a coastal village, the hospital refuses to take patients at night time, and shuts its doors for the day. Reason : there is no male staff on night duty. So much so, the hospital have even put up a board informing patients of not admitting patients at night.
The Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Satpati closes down each night, as there is no male staff on night duty. As per rules, all government hospitals need to be open 24 hours a day, but the PHC at Satpati does opposite to that and closes down exactly at 1800 hours,said Tukaram Naik (70) a retired teacher from Satpati. My grand son, had fallen sick due to the ongoing Ganpati festival, and I had rushed him to the PHC and to my shock, I was greeted with a sign board claiming that the hospital is closed after dusk,said Naik. I had to admit my grand son in a private hospital at Palghar city, which is 13 kms from my home, and that was an expensive affair. My grand son survived, but what about the other patients, who have serious ailments, questioned Naik. The months of August-September reports maximum cases of snakes bites, as the monsoon season recedes, and when a patient gets a snakebite, he will have be to be taken to Palghar for treatment, as the Satpati PHC is closed after dusk,said Naik. The government had promised to set up a trauma care centre at Palghar a few years ago, but that is only on paper, and what can be done if PHCs shut themselves after dusk,he said. The announcement of a district hospital is also on paper, as there is no step taken in that direction, he said. Many of the poor tribal patients spend the night on the steps of the hospital, so that medical treatment is given to them, the next morning,said Naik.
Since 1 September, the hospital has shut itself after dusk, and patients have to rush to Palghar, Boisar and even as far as Vapi,Silvassa government hospitals for treatment,said Nikhil Mestry, another resident of Satpati.The neighbouring Gujarat State civil hospitals offer the best of treatment and that too for free, and the Maharashtra state government should take a leaf from them, as to how government hospitals should work, instead of complaing,said Mestry.
According to government sources, in four PHCs at Murbhe, Satpati, Saphale and Kelwe, there is no male staff at night duty, as they had retired a few months ago, and the government have failed to appoint new peons on night duty, and due to the vacancy,the PHC are shut at night.
There are 9 rural hospitals 3 subdistrict hospitals 46 PHCs, 306 sub centres in the Palghar district, but there is no District Hospital in Palghar which would cater to the scores of patients who need treatment.
Dr Dayanand Suryavanshi, District Health Officer, Palghar said it is shocking that such a board has been put up at the Satpati PHC and I have issued orders to remove it immediately. It is true there are some vacancies for night shift peons, and we are trying to fill the posts from the funds sanctioned by the State government and an alternative arrangement is being planned, said the official. Regarding the issue of District Hospital in Palghar and a trauma care centre, it is upto the State government to decide,he added.