U’khand HC asks govt to make Swami Rama Cancer Hospital fully functional in 3 months

Expressing serious concern over the poor healthcare delivery mechanism at Swami Rama Cancer Hospital and Research Center in Haldwani the Uttarakhand High Court on Friday directed the state government to fill up all the vacancies at the hospital, make it fully functional and upgrade it as state cancer institute within three months.

Swami Rama Cancer Hospital is a referral hospital for patients from Kumaon and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh districts

The court also directed the government to hire specialists at the premier institution by giving them at least 15 advance increments, suitable accommodation and conveyance befitting their status.

HC pointed out that though the cancer hospital was established in 2010, till date the Oncology Department was not in existence there. It directed that posts of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, hematological oncologists, gynaecological oncologists and pediatric oncologists be created and filled up by holding walk-in interviews.

A division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh gave these directions while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nainital-based advocate Chandra Shekhar Joshi in 2015. The PIL highlighted the lack of basic facilities at the Government Medical College, Haldwani, and its associate hospitals including Swami Rama Cancer Hospital. The PIL alleged that the institution was plagued with absenteeism, no specialized treatment of poor patients and vacant posts.

HC said startling revelation has come to light in the affidavits and counter-affidavits filed in the case. Only radiotherapy department is functional, the court said adding “lack of oncological disciplines of medical oncology, surgical oncology, haematological oncology, gynaecological oncology and pediatric oncology is acutely affecting the population of the state at present.”

The HC also directed the government to establish the nephrology, neurology, urology and cardiology departments in the medical college within three months. “The posts shall be filled up in these departments in next three months,” the order said.

Pointing out that a trauma centre was essential for the hilly terrain of the region where lot road accident fatalities take place, the HC directed the state government to establish it at Government Medical College in Haldwani and make it functional within three months.

The HC noted that there “is no MRI or mammography available in the Medical College”, “no facilities like neo-adjuvent and adjuvant available” for cancer patients. “ It is shocking that till date, no specialists have been appointed except the opening of department of radiotherapy… the cancer hospital has virtually become defunct in absence of specialists.”

HC observed that every citizen has a fundamental right to health. “The state has the obligation to provide best medical services to its citizens. The poorest of poor cannot go to the private hospitals,” the order said.

HC also pointed out, citing a media report that there was acute shortage of doctors (around 267 posts of doctors lying vacant) in Kumaon Division

Other HC directions

Fill up all the posts of teaching staff as well as non-teaching staff, lying vacant in the medical college within 3 months

Deploy 61 newly acquired ambulances after refurbishing them within one month.

Fill up all the vacancies of medical officers in the Kumaon division within 4 months.

Install the MRI/ PET, mammography and other state of art equipment within 3 months.

Pprovide essential life-saving drugs/medicines to the patients free-of-cost.

State government may consider constructing inns/sarays for the attendants of patients in the close vicinity of the hospital.

Medical Council of India to carry out the inspection of the medical college immediately after six months to ensure that all the parameters laid down by it are followed in letter and spirit

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