| An unmanned ‘May I Help You’ kiosk at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, April 26: Two help desks at SCB Medical College Hospital, which were supposed to ensure proper redressal of patients’ grievances along with dissemination of information on facilities and treatment available at the state’s premier healthcare facility, are yet to see the light of day.
Though a blueprint was prepared for establishing the kiosks following an order from Orissa High Court, the “May I Help You” kiosks have not yet come up for reasons best known to the hospital authorities.
Official sources said the proposal for establishment of the “May I Help You” kiosks came up for discussion at a general body meeting of the Swasthya Bikash Samiti of SCB Medical College and Hospital on April 11. The meeting was chaired by revenue divisional commissioner (central division) P.K. Mohapatra.
Hospital superintendent D.N. Moharana said: “Two help desks have been proposed to provide information and other kinds of assistance to the patients. These are supposed to be located at the reception centre in the outdoor patient department (OPD) and on the ground floor of the new building of the biochemistry department.”
“A total of eight receptionists and one supervisor, preferably a retired clerk of this hospital, are likely to be appointed for round-the-clock management of the help desks. The initial cost of establishment of the kiosks and the salary of the staff will be paid from the hospital’s users’ fund. The total expenditure for setting up and running the kiosks amounts to Rs 3.6 lakh per year,” Moharana said.
As the advocates’ committee on healthcare made allegations related to lack of information dissemination facility for patients at the hospital, the high court had on February 27, directed the collector of this district for upgrading the patients’ grievance redressal system.
“Even in case of an emergency, neither is anybody available in person nor can their contact numbers be found. But, the court had earlier specifically directed the hospital to display the duty chart of the attending doctors and other staff with their names and telephone numbers in each ward of the hospital. The court has also asked for provision of a toll-free facility for emergency contact and for lodging complaint. But, these are yet to come up,” the committee had alleged.
Everyday, about 1,500 to 2,000 patients come to the hospital’s OPD, from where they are subsequently referred to various other departments for further treatment.
Amicus curiae Pravat Ranjan Dash said: “At an emergency meeting about a month ago, the collector of Cuttack had approved a plan for setting up the help desks for implementation of the high court order for strengthening the patients’ grievances redressal system. But, nothing tangible has followed till date.”
The approval note of the district collector had said: “There shall be three help desks. The existing central information centre at the OPD will be upgraded deploying resourceful persons who will be well-trained and well-conversant with the rules and regulations of the hospital and various health-related schemes of the government.”