Srinagar, Oct 14 :
The Government Medical College (GMC) associated hospital in Baramulla is grappling with a severe shortage of staff, along with the unavailability of essential MRI and Cath Lab facilities.
Official sources revealed to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that around 100 positions are vacant at GMC-associated Baramulla, significantly hindering the hospital’s day-to-day operations.
They said that out of the 228 sanctioned positions, only 131 are currently occupied, leaving 97 posts across gazetted, non-gazetted, and Class IV categories unoccupied. Among these vacancies, there are 23 gazetted posts, 62 non-gazetted posts, and 12 Class IV positions.
The shortage of staff is adversely affecting the hospital’s ability to maintain daily operations, causing inconvenience for both patients and healthcare providers.
Notably, hundreds of patients at the Government Medical College Baramulla are left without a cath laboratory, a specialised area where minimally invasive tests and advanced cardiac procedures are performed to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases.
According to officials, the cardiology unit is operational at GMC Baramulla, but the absence of a cath lab necessitates the referral of patients with minor or major heart issues to hospitals in Srinagar.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 47% of deaths occur due to sudden cardiac arrests before an individual reaches the hospital.
The critical “golden hour” following a heart attack, within which timely intervention can save a patient’s life, is compromised. The absence of a cath lab significantly impacts the ability to perform primary angioplasties, a crucial procedure for clearing blocked arteries, during this crucial time.
In the absence of a cath lab, patients lose precious time travelling to hospitals in Srinagar. Doctors stressed that establishing a cath lab at the hospital could potentially save the lives of numerous patients who currently lose valuable time in transit.
Additionally, patients in north Kashmir face hardships due to the unavailability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) facilities at Government Medical College Baramulla. They are forced to visit private diagnostic centres, incurring substantial costs for MRI scans.
Patients in Baramulla are facing undue hardships due to the lack of MRI facilities at GMC Baramulla, compelling them to resort to expensive private diagnostic centres.
Suhail Ahmad, a resident of Baramulla, shared his ordeal, stating that doctors recommended an MRI, but due to the absence of the facility at the hospital, he had no choice but to visit a private diagnostic centre. He revealed that undergoing an MRI at these private facilities costs approximately Rs 5000-6000, putting a financial strain on patients already burdened by medical expenses.
Residents from north Kashmir highlighted the scarcity of MRI facilities in government hospitals, despite the presence of around 700 health facilities across three districts.
They have urged the authorities to address the staff shortages, equip the hospital with Cath Lab, MRI, and other vital facilities, and expedite infrastructure development to improve healthcare access.
Principal GMC Baramulla, Dr Ruby Reshi, told KNO that they have raised the issue of vacancies with the relevant authorities and remain hopeful that these positions will be filled shortly. She noted that the lack of space and infrastructure has delayed the establishment of both MRI and Cath Lab facilities, as all construction work has been halted for the past several months—(KNO)