The state government-run Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded, where 31 patients reportedly died due to lack of essential medicines, has shown zero expenditure on acquiring necessary supplies, as shown in the real-time budget allocation and utilization data of the state, despite serving over six lakh patients annually.

Within a day of the initial report of about 24 patient deaths at a government hospital in Nanded, the hospital recorded another seven deaths from October 1 to 2. Of this, 16 were infants. This has sparked significant outrage among the public and civic organizations, which have accused the hospital of negligence, particularly in terms of staffing and medication shortages.

A look into the state’s real-time budget allocation and utilization data revealed that out of the hospital’s annual budget for supplies and material of Rs 1.16 crore, the hospital has not utilised a single rupee even as Rs 35 lakh has been disbursed till now, this year.

Likewise, there has been no expenditure incurred from the nearly Rs 67 lakh rupees allocated in budget for machinery, equipment, and repairs, even as nearly Rs 15 lakh from the same have been released.

“This suggests that, if the data is accurate, the hospital hasn’t acquired any medicines. However, it is noteworthy that there are substantial expenses documented for salaries and contractual services. It is disconcerting to think that a district hospital with such a high patient volume would face this situation,” said Dr Ravi Duggal, an independent health researcher and economist.

Freedom Sale

As of Tuesday, the medical education sector has allocated a budget of Rs 84.43 crore, with 40.47 crore already utilized.

This comes at a time when Dr Shyamrao Wakode, the Dean, mentioned on Tuesday about shortages of supply of medicines from Haffkine Bio-pharmaceuticals that they managed to acquire the medicines locally. Deans of government medical colleges and hospitals are authorized to procure medicines up to Rs 10 lakh.

Dr Shyamrao Wakode refused to make a comment on it by saying, “Today the minister held a press conference and discussed the issues. I will not be able to comment on anything more than this.”

“The same situation is occurring in all colleges, where despite budget allocations, the funds remain unutilized. The government has been announcing new hospitals, but their priority should be strengthening the existing ones,” Dr Duggal added.

In response to the situation, Medical Education Minister Hasan Mushrif on Tuesday stated that a thorough investigation would be conducted to determine the cause of the significant patient deaths at a government hospital in Nanded district. He also assured that improvements would be implemented at the facility within the next 15 days.

Mushrif mentioned that the hospital, originally designed for approximately 500 beds, had to accommodate nearly 1,000 patients, including underweight babies in critical condition.

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Talking to media personnel, he said, “The surge in-patient admissions occurred suddenly, mainly due to holidays and the closure of private healthcare facilities. We will promptly appoint a new hospital dean. Considering the hospital’s substantial size, we’ll explore the possibility of outsourcing cleaning services.”

Additionally, a decade-old report titled ‘Patients’ Waiting Time and Their Satisfaction of Health Care Services at the Government Medical College, Nanded,’ highlighted persistent issues in the hospital’s services.

Patients faced lengthy waiting times of 75.5 minutes for outpatient department (OPD) services, attributed to various factors, including delays in registration clerk attendance, slow patient registration, room location difficulties, overcrowding, tardy doctor arrivals, and doctors and pharmacists engaging in mobile phone conversations and VIP patients bypassing queues.


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