Nothing is free at SKIMS;Poor patients rue their fate

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Srinagar: Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura that was set up by late Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah for the ‘poor’ ailing patients of Kashmir has changed into a money-minting hospital where patients have to pay even for a cotton roll. “Nothing is free here. A patient has to pay for his/her bed, simple drugs, adhesives and cotton. We sometimes feel humiliation when we charge for these items from poor attendants. We only follow rules and are helpless,” said a Para-medical staffer.

Majority of the attendants were all praise for the doctors who according to them wholeheartedly serve the patients. But what annoys them is the expenditure they have to bear for the treatment of the ailing patients. “This hospital is not for a poor patient. A poor can’t afford his/her treatment here. You have to pay even for a capsule here. I sometimes wonder how the attendants of poor patients may be feeling when asked to pay for everything,”  Altaf Ahmed a resident of Qaziabad Langate told news agency CNS adding that hospital authorities even force a patient to pay for the bed on daily basis.

He said that the cost of treatment and surgery here is more than a nursing home.

“We are helpless and can’t do anything. The items like cotton, adhesives and inexpensive drugs are not available in the hospital and attendants are asked to purchase them from the open market,” said a group of doctors adding that  the patients have to purchase medicines from private drug stores as hospital administration has failed to make these available at the hospital. 

A reputed doctor lamented that millions are being spent on Seminars and other functions but no efforts are made to keep the drugs available in the hospital.

“This premier hospital is going through a messy state of affairs with acute shortage of life-saving drugs and essential equipment threatening lives of hapless patients. Everything comes at a cost here,” he said.

“The other day Para-medical staff pooled money to help a discharging patient of Ward 6 who was unable to pay bed charges. There should be a proper mechanism. Cashless poor should be at least given some respite,” said Javaid Ahmed from HMT whose little son is admitted in Ward 6 of the hospital.  Director SKIMS was not available in the hospital for comments. (CNS)


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