Srinagar: The S K Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) has suspended its Out-Patient Department (OPD) service amid unabated rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Kashmir valley.
Official sources said that the OPD service at the territory care hospital has been suspended to cater to the surge in fresh COVID positive cases in the valley.
They, however, said the Emergency services at the institute would function normally.
Meanwhile, they said SKIMS has already started a tele-consultation service for all departments through which patients can speak to a doctor and avail medical advice over the phone.
The institute on April 8 this year ordered closure of all non-emergency surgeries and admissions to cater to the increasing load of Covid-19 patients.
However, non-COVID patients have expressed concern over the decision as they have no option but to go to private hospitals, which are expensive and already over crowned. “We have no option but to go to private hospitals as two major hospitals in Srinagar – SHMS hospital and SKIMS – have suspended their OPD services. What are non-COVID patients suppose to do? Going to a private hospital in no problem for rich, but what about patients who can’t afford treatment there,” Gulzar Ahmad, a Srinagar resident, told UNI.
Ahmad said that SKIMS and SHMS hospitals not only caters to the people of Srinagar but other parts of Kashmir as proper the health care facilities are not available in their respective districts.
Similar views were expressed by others, who do not see tele-consultation as an alternative for in-person consultation. “One entire department has been allotted one landline number, which is not enough to cater to all the patients who otherwise would have taken medical consultation from a doctor at hospital. On one landline number a doctor can consult with 10 to 15 patients at max,” Shabir Ahmad Bhat, an attendant of a patient who had come from Anantnag to SKIMS, said.