AIIMS Mangalagiri stops telemedicine services
- Officials say that since they are overwhelmed by outpatients, they are not able to attend telemedicine services
- Around 1,500 outpatients visit the hospital daily as it provides services at a nominal cost
Nellore/Guntur: The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Mangalagiri, stopped telemedicine services to the poor who usually seek medical assistance from home. The crucial service is not available now as the hospital administration expressed its helplessness to offer telemedicine services as it is not able to cope with the huge number of out-patients.
The telemedicine service was introduced during the Covid pandemic, which proved immensely helpful to the people by providing guidance to the patients based on information provided through WhatsApp free of cost.
The Centre sanctioned two AIIMS facilities for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after bifurcation and AP government proposed the hospital close to Amaravati capital city by providing lands. The hospital was established under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY), and works are still incomplete. A similar medical centre in Telangana is at Bibinagar.
AIIMS, Mangalagiri, started functioning from a temporary campus at Government Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada in 2018. In March 2019, OPD services were started in the permanent campus at Mangalagiri. Thereafter, AIIMS gradually moved into its designated campus as a newly constructed premier teaching hospital.
During the Covid lockdown, OPD services were supplemented with e-Paramarsh initiative for doorstep sample collection. In early part of 2021, limited OPD services for other patients have started. The 2018 and 2019 MBBS batch of 50 students each started their first year on the temporary campus at Vijayawada. The 2020 batch of 125 students has started its academics in Mangalagiri.
The hospital continued the telemedicine services till May-June and gradually stopped them saying I was unable to manage OPD, and the medical teams are busy serving them with no time to attend telemedicine calls.
"We are facing a problem managing around 1,500 patients a day which is not an easy task. Doctors are busy attending OPD services, so they are finding no time to focus on telemedicine. We started the service during the pandemic and now we stopped them," said an official who doesn't want to be named. He suggested that patients can visit the hospital directly and get the services.
There are complaints that the hospital staff are not making any special arrangements for the elderly patients. All the patients, irrespective of age, have to stand in queue at OP to pay a fee of Rs 10. With hundreds of patients visiting the hospital daily, it takes at least on or two hours those who are seriously ill, elderly patients suffer most. Now services in all important branches are available to the patients and the demand has been increasing as fee is only Rs 10 and lab and radiology services are provided at nominal cost.
"This is really a setback to the patients who cannot spend money and move to a health facility due to mobility issues. Hospital authorities should consider the difficulties of the poor and resume teleservice deputing additional staff members," said M Suresh Raju of Tirupati.