Located in the heart of Bhaderwah town, old hospital opens at 10am in the morning and gates are locked at 4 PM in the evening.
This may sound amusing but the fact remains that health paraphernalia in Bhaderwah has become a laughing stock. Even a mild pain the stomach invites referral to District Hospital Doda. This is despite the fact that Bhaderwah has been two building for housing one sub-district hospital, out of which one is closed down at 4 pm while the patients admitted in the new one which is around 4 kilometers away from Bhaderwah city in Dandi village prefer returning home than staying in the hospital for the night.
Ask for the reason and they tell you that it is scary to stay in this hospital as the sun sets since there is hardly a doctor available for consultation. Believe it or not but it is a bitter truth that old Hospital in Bhaderwah which was established in 1955 is probably the only hospital which opens at 10 am morning and closes in the evening.
Not only this, health department recently posted new doctors in Doda district. Of these, just one was posted in Old Hospital. It can be easily verified from the hospital that patients suffer and they have to travel all the way to Dandi. Even the patients who can be treated in the old hospital between 10 am to 4 pm are referred to either Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Dandi or to Doda or to GMC Jammu.
Locals maintain that mostly medical assistants and lower staff is seen attending to the patients in the old hospital. They added that costly medical equipment is rusting in the stores of the new hospital Dandi, Bhaderwah as there is no expert to handle the equipments. Such is the situation that even during this harsh and prolonged winter season, patients are referred either to new hospital Bhaderwah outside Bhaderwah town or Doda or Jammu for treatment even for minor diseases.
“Our voices were falling on deaf ears despite submission of memorandum and reminders demanding posting of adequate specialist,” said Ranbir Singh Manhas a local social activist. He added that Director Health Services Jammu had promised to post more doctors in old hospital but we were cheated since just one doctor was provided to the hospital. Locals added that many a times the matter was brought in the notice of senior officers but no one cared.
Locals also slammed the government for turning a blind eye towards the falling standard of health in Bhaderwah town. “State government is making tall claims of improving the health standard in government hospitals but on ground situation is contrary,” said locals. For this, they blamed to the negligence of the higher officials of the health department.
Sources said old Hospital of Bhaderwah which is in the heart of town fails to deliver due to paucity of doctors, paramedical staff, and lack of medicines. It has even no budget to run the operation theater and ambulance of the hospital. Is this the service the Bhaderwah hospital is providing to humanity that too for the people of far flung areas of this hilly belt? Is this the development in medical sector in this area for which our leaders often say that development of far flung areas, remote areas is the priority of administration?
People of this area say that it is better to die at home rather than go to this hospital for treatment, said Saleem Butt a local of Udrana. Administration should look into the ground realities and should provide necessary staff that is doctors, physicians and technical experts so as this hospital could function in a better way and poor patients of this area can be treated here properly, he demanded .Despite being the only hope for a vast majority of people of Bhaderwah town, the old Hospital in Bhaderwah town here has been lacking in infrastructure facilities, medical and supporting staff since long.