This valley boasts of major government hospitals, but for circumstances beyond their control, patients have to rely on mushrooming private medical centers, clinics and laboratories. According to information KNS has gathered from patients, hospital staff and other relevant quarters, majority of sufferers calling daily at the public sector hospitals like SMHS, JVC, LD, JLNM hospitals are advised to see specialist/professor doctors privately and get more authentic medical tests from particular labs outside. Thousands of patients, including many from adjoining as well as far-flung areas, daily visit the city hospitals. Making startling revelations, sources said that around 70 percent of the laboratories advised by the specialists were functioning without appropriate equipment and without maintaining required facilities in the Srinagar. “The situation renders results of tests highly doubtful, so putting precious lives at risk,” a source revealed. According to sources, the government has no sufficient record of registered or unregistered private medical centers and laboratories, whose number runs into hundreds. As many as 80 per cent of private medical centers, clinics and laboratories are said to be owned or being run on partnership basis by doctors working at the government hospitals. And doctors grab 50 per cent commission on the cases they refer, sources say. Talking to this KNS reporter patients coming from distant localities complained that they faced great difficulties in getting treatment and related tests are missing at the government hospitals, forcing them to go to private laboratories. Aliya, a patient verdicted by the doctors having missed abortion, alleged that private labs are charging up to Rs 900 for TVS, a price most families cannot afford. She and many others suspected manipulation on the part of people in the hospital administrations to create such condition as would enable them to divert patients to private facilities for tests for the sake. Sources said that the government SMHS hospital doctors were allegedly asking the patients to get the tests done at private diagnostic centers. They said that many of the poor patients aren’t able to conduct the test privately due to financial constraints and were suffering due to the indifferent attitude of the medicos. Meanwhile, attendants of patients who had to be operated upon at SMHS have alleged that some of the doctors were suggesting them to get LFT and TSH tests done privately. “The doctors insist to get these important tests done at the private clinics,” the attendants said adding the tests done in the SMHS laboratory are not taken into account. “We fail to understand as to why these doctors insist on doing tests at the private laboratories when state-of-the-art testing facilities are available at the hospital,” the attendants added. According to reports, most of the lab owners lure patients and attendants through touts while as certain labs do such ‘tests’, which is not their domain.
2015 Kashmir Despatch