GDC Leaves Patients at Mercy of Elements

  • All elements of a scam, say hospital insiders
  • 900 Patients Visit Hospital Daily/ Most Redirected to Pvt Sector 
  • Rs 50 X-Ray at GDC costs Rs 700 in Pvt  
  • 2 Years Wait for Orthodenture/ Bracing Patients

SRINAGAR: The Government Dental College (GDC), Srinagar, is neither coping up nor caring for the huge demand for dental care and problems that patients suffer from.

Average 800-900 patients visit GDC daily from all across Valley with barely a coupe of hundred getting the required medical aid. 

With no basic as well as critical care equipment like panoramic X-ray machine and auto analyzer machine available at the GDC, bulk of the patients are simply referred to the private sector.

Mansha Altaf Mir, a resident of Khanyar who was suffering from serious tooth problems went to GDC for treatment but she was told by the dentist to take an X-ray from outside and come back after a week for further analysis.  

Mansha had to run from pillar to post to get the X ray done only to be told to return after one week.“I went to a private clinic and had the the X-ray and later went back to hospital to show that to dentist but he told me to come after one week which was a rude shock.”

“If everything is to be done privately then what is the fun of having a government hospital”, she pertinently asked.

Similarly Muhammad Ameen, a middle aged man, hailing from far flung district of Kupwara suffering from bad and weak gums leading to wobbly teeth was also referred to the private players. “ I hail from Kupwara and I am poor; a day’s visit to Srinagar costs me my wage labor and I have to incur additional expenses. I was referred to the private operator. I had to borrow money for this but at the end of the day, I was not offered any treatment at the hospital,” said Ameen. He further added that,” repeated visits plus the extra and huge amounts of money I have to pay without any benefits in terms of treatment is affecting my work and finances”. “Now my family is also suffering with me”,’ he said with a tinge of sadness and disappointment.

When Kashmir Observer brought this to the notice of hospital administration , they said patients are compelled to go outside for matters and issues as simple as  blood tests and x-rays because the dental hospital is without OPG (Ortho Pentogram X- ray machine).  Private operators charge nearly 700 rupees per patient for an OPG Xray while the same  costs only 50 rupees at the hospital.

According to hospital sources which did not want to be named, “money has been allocated for  the purchase of basic equipment but purchase has been put on hold by the hospital administration for reasons better known to them. 

Auto analyzer (blood test machine) is non functional from last one year. The agony and problem is so acute  that patients have to implant their new teeth dentures from outside as the hospital lab is without basic material and drugs. Even for fixed orthodenture and bracing patients have to wait for minimum two years, ‘said the sources.

It is alleged that there has been an embezzlement of funds meant for the hospital.

An RTI in 2012 was filed against GDC authorities to furnish the purchasing details of the machines which they procured from Delhi. The complainant namely Tanveer Hussain Khan had filed an RTI application bearing letter no. Md/Suptd/GDC &H’ 238-240 dated 02-02-2012, to superintendent GDC, (Public Information Officer for RTI cases), regarding purchase of various dental machinery and equipment, including digital panoramic x-ray machine and complete Vertical Rack Sterilization System. With huge embezzlement of funds, the vigilance organization was directed to carry out the inquiry against the officials involved. The case is still in process from the last three years. 

Dr. Riyaz Farooq, the Principal of Government Dental College was indicted in fraudulent scams  but he is still holding the chair of GDC.

It is not only the patients but students at the College who are at the recieving end. PG students are up against the GDC principal for throwing their career in jeopardy; since the past four months they are waiting for their results to come out. Nothing has happened. This  has hampered their in house job opportunities. The students are so distraught , helpless and frustrated that they are threatening  to go on an indefinite strike if their grievances are no heard and action on time.

Given budgetary constraints,  Minister for Health Mr. Lal Singh during his visit to the GDC  August this year directed the administration to utilize Rs 40 lakhs from the students fund to procure  basic equipments but despite the order and even after the passage of one and half month the hospital authorities have yet to act on the ministers directive.

When contacted, the principal , Dr. Riyaz Farooq said, “I know there are some facilities which are lacking in the hospital but due to floods the whole machinery is lying defunct for which we have already sought help from the government and minister for health has allocated money from student funds to procure the machines which we have finalized with the company for providing the machines on time”. 

Hospital insiders say that the whole saga smacks of nexus between private health sector and hospital officials. They deliberately want patients to go to private clinics

Minster for Heath and Medical Education, ARI and Trainings when apprised of the gross negligence and state of affairs at the GDC told Kashmir Observer that he will look into the matter. “The priority of his department is to see people getting quality healthcare and if some hospitals are denying it to patients, I will take strict action against them,” he said. “I have recently visited the hospital and I will make sure I will go again and see the situation myself immediately after I am free from Assembly session.”


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