Residents hassled as Bhagwati hospital revamp drags on

With the slow pace of redevelopment of Bhagwati Hospital, which has been almost shut for the past two months, Borivali residents are a worried lot. The 10 beds currently kept for emergency cases in the civic-run hospital are not adequate, and a majority of maternity and orthopaedic patients are being forced to turn to other medical centres.

Dr Mangesh Bhudhkar, medical superintendent of 324-bed Kandivali's Shatabdi (Centenary) hospital, said more than 70 per cent patients in Bhagwati are referred to the Kandivali hospital, and almost all the facilities offered at Bhagwati have been shifted there until redevelopment is over.

However, patients are forced to shuttle between the two hospitals for tests. While Shatabdi provides diagnostic facilities like X-ray and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests, a patient has to visit Bhagwati for a CT scan. Bhudhkar said, "We are thinking of sending a proposal for CT scan machine."

Built in 1968, Bhagwati is the only civic hospital in Borivali. As the building comes under the C2 category, it was hastily vacated after the Dockyard Road building collapse in September. As per the BMC norms, C2 category buildings are considered weak yet repairable.

While plans for redevelopment were made in 2006, tenders were not passed until 2009.

Dr Shubha Raul, member of the civic health committee, said, "Work is proceeding at a slow pace. Earlier, there was a plan for a nursing college. However, the hospital's redevelopment was significantly affected, following which it was shelved."

"Earlier the entire maternity ward used to to be full. Now, in the absence of a gynaecology ward, these patients find it difficult to travel long distances for delivery," she added.

Bina Doshi, local corporator, said Bhagwati hospital has reserved two beds for emergency maternity cases, in addition to another public maternity home nearby.

According to Dr Seema Malik, head of BMC's peripheral hospitals, the redevelopment work has been divided in three phases, but no deadline for the project has been finalised. "The first phase will be 150-bedded facility for patients. Next will be 600 beds," she said.

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