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Kullu hospitals face acute shortage of radiologists

Despite there being equipment for conducting ultrasound at five government hospitals and one community health centre (CHC) — Manali, Banjar, Anni, Nirmand, Kullu Regional Hospital (RH) and Jari CHC, respectively — in the district there is only one radiologist available to do it. Adding insult to injury, the only radiologist, deputed in Kullu RH, is also on leave until April 18. Due to which the number of patients waiting to get an ultrasound done had been skyrocketing. Patients visiting these hospitals, are being given appointments for ultrasounds, but they are scheduled anywhere from two to three months from now because of the long list of pending patients. Though there is an ultrasonologist in the Kullu hospital he is not qualified enough to perform all types of ultrasounds.

2 ultrasonologists to join soon
An ultrasonologist is providing services in Kullu RH and shortly another one will begin working at the Manali Civil Hospital. One more ultrasonologist is also undergoing training and will be providing services in Nirmand hospital soon. — Nag Raj Panwar, Kullu Chief Medical Officer

Apart from Manali, Banjar, Sainj and Bhuntar, patients from other districts such as Lahaul and Spiti, Mandi and some border areas of Chamba also come to the Kullu hospital to get treatment. Despite having ultrasound machines in six government health facilities across the district, the facility is not available in any other hospital except Kullu RH because there are no radiologists deployed there, due to this the Kullu hospital is overburdened. Due to a lack of the facility of getting ultrasounds done, patients are forced to turn to private medical institutions, where they are charged a hefty price for the test.

A radiologist had joined the RH on April 1 last year but before that the ultrasound facility had remained largely suspended since November 2021. The facility of ultrasounds for antenatal mothers were resumed in Kullu RH on January 28 last year after a span of about 4 months through an ultrasonologist after a radiologist had provided services in August and September in 2022. The ultrasound machine in Jari CHC, too was outdated and not functional because it had broken down.

Kullu Chief Medical Officer Nag Raj Panwar said an ultrasonologist was providing services in Kullu RH and shortly another ultrasonologist would begin working at the Manali Civil Hospital. He added that another ultrasonologist was undergoing training and would be providing services in Nirmand hospital soon, too. He promised that the ultrasound machines in Banjar and Anni would also be put to use in future.

Shivangi, a resident of Manali said: “Radiologists should be deputed in Civil Hospitals of the district on priority to ensure better health facilities.” Pooja, a resident of Manikaran said that a new ultrasound machine should be installed in Jari CHC and a radiologist should be deputed at the earliest. Tribune India

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