HYDERABAD: During a recent cabinet meeting, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao urged MLAs and MPs to pool in cash to enhance amenities at government hospitals to offer assistance to the attendants of patients from the economically poor sector. This is because many of these caregivers find it impossible to pay for lodging outside of the hospital, even on regular days.
Even on typical days, state-run hospitals take in the most inpatients, with an occupancy rate of about 120 percent, resulting in a rush of attendants. One of the themes discussed during the meeting, according to reports, was how government hospitals, while servicing enormous numbers of patients, were still perceived as centres of neglect.
"Even in the non-Covid scenario, the occupancy ratio of government hospitals is anywhere between 120 and 130 per cent," said a government source.
On ordinary days, floor beds are set up to treat patients, while children in pediatric wards share beds with other children, and occasionally even their mothers. Such circumstances increase the number of visitors to hospitals, which is common among patients receiving long-term care.
In most situations, family members traveling from villages or outlying places are unable to pay the rent and other expenses associated with residing outside the hospital.
"They sit on footpaths or under trees and bring with them stoves to cook and have to face other difficulties. In such a situation, if facilities for such people can be improved, the image of government hospitals will be enhanced as a reliable support for the poor and even middle-income groups," the government source said.