Hyderabad: 200 Patients Go On Hunger Strike After Dialysis Service Stopped In ESIC Hospital
On August 28, more than 200 dialysis patients gathered outside the ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Erragadda, in Hyderabad to protest against the closure of free dialysis facility at the hospital. The patients demanded immediate resumption of services as the shut down will lead to health complications for many.
The patients held a hunger strike and raised slogans in front of the Dean’s office in the morning. The strike was called off after police intervention. The patient said that now they will approach the court to seek a stay order on the hospital’s decision to close the dialysis services.
“No reason was given”
Many of these kidney patients are availing dialysis at a 31-bed unit in the hospital. The unit was running under Private-Public Partnership (PPP) by NephroPlus, a private health services provider.
“We were told that the unit would be closed for a month. They have not told us why. The authority has directed us to go to private hospitals,” said S. Sashidhar, a patient leading the protests, reports The Hindu. The patients are referred to private hospitals and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Science Hospital in Hyderabad. However, the patients fear that treatment at other hospitals may not be of comparable quality and the scheduling of the sessions may not be convenient.
One of the protesters, Sashidhar S, said private hospitals would not provide them with free treatment and these patients are ESIC card holders through which they are supposed to get free dialysis.
The Hospital’s response
The hospital said that the decision to shut down the services has come from their Delhi headquarters. The hospital management also claimed that NephroPlus pushed and agitated the patients into staging the protest. They said that NephoPlus did this to as the contract was broken between the two. A senior officer told the Times Of India that the agency had failed to meet the norms set by the hospital, which is why the hospital had to stop their services.
“All baseless allegations”
The Logical Indian spoke to a representative from NephroPlus who told us that the hospital suddenly terminated their services from September 1. “When we asked them the reasons they cited minor reasons for the termination. Which we did resolve as per the hospital’s terms in the stipulated time,” he said.
When we asked them about the allegations of NephroPlus staging the protest, he said that these are all baseless allegations. “They want to malign us. If they have some proof of this that they can show that we are supporting the protesting patients, but that does not mean we have organised the protest,” he adds.
He further said, “We were shocked when ESIC sent a notice to withdraw services without adhering to terms of MoU signed six years ago. There was a minor biometric process issue only, but we don’t know why did they terminate our services.”
“We request ESIC to withdraw its notice and let us run the dialysis unit for another ten months as per contract,” he added.
According to the Hindu, the hospital administration claimed that private firm services were being stopped in the interest of patients, but the administration did not detail the reasons.
“We decided to start services on our own in the interest of patients. Patient care will not be affected as we have roped in private hospitals while we ease ourselves to run the unit. As a backup plan, we also have the support of NIMS,” a senior official of the hospital management said.