Brig D A Paranjape,VrC Retired] J-22,Salunke Vihar, Phone - 26853531 Pune. 411022. Email : 25 Jun 2012. firstname.lastname@example.org
To, ECHS- Over Sight Committee. Sir, E C H S – FUNCTIONING :OVER VIEW.
At the out- set, let me congratulate all the members of the committee for having been nominated on this committee. You have an enormous task ahead of you and only sky will be the limiting factor for your services to the august body of veterans.
I wish to present two events before you. Please draw your own inferences for the betterment of the medical services being provided to veterans.
It was the year of 1980–81. I was posted as DS [Lt Col] at Senior Command Wing of College of Combat, Mhow. My wife was losing weight. [15kg in three months.] We went MH, Mhow where only services of Med Specialists were available. His medicines brought us not much of a relief. So with some civilian doctor friends, we went to Indore to learn that the investigation & treatment would cost us approx R. 40 to 50 thousands. I showed those papers to the Med Specialists at MH, Mhow. He said at best, he could refer us to Army Hospital, Delhi or Comd Hospital, Pune. We opted for Pune as we are from Pune where, support of relatives and friends is available.
At Comd Hospital, Pune we came across Lt Col Shetty [Endowcrinologist, who later retired as Maj Gen] who advised for a blood test [T-3 / T-4/ TSH]. This facility was not available at Comd Hospital, Pune. He gave a chit and suggested that we go to KEM Hospital, Pune. When we went KEM Hospital, Pune, the concerned Doctor said that it is a great honour to receive a request from an Army Doctor. I told him that the patient is also an Army Offr’s wife. That Doctor stated that normally, they take blood samples once a week, and give the report in the following week. Since it is request from an Army Doctor, for Army Offr’s wife, the blood sample will be collected immediately and the report was handed over on the following day. All of us appreciated the respect shown by a civilian Doctor to a note from Army Doctor and the concern shown to the family of an Army Offr.
Later, this facility of blood test [T -3/ T -4 /TSH] has also been made available at Comd Hospital, Pune.
I retired from Army service in 1994. As at present my wife is under treatment at CTC, Pune. The other day, the Doctor [Cardiologist] suggested blood test [T3/T4/TSH] to confirm his opinion / observations . With his chit, we went to a Mini Lab co-located with Endocrinology Dept, MH Pune. We were directed to go to OPD for Civilians where blood samples are collected.[ Incidently,on numerous earlier occasions, we have also been going to this Mini Lab, co-located with Endocrinology Dept, as and when the Doctors asked for this [T3 /T4 /TSH] blood test.] When we went to OPD for giving blood sample, we were told that veterans cannot be entertained there, and we should go to ECHS. So we went to ECHS, showed the chit given by the Cardiologist at CTC, Pune. We were then refered to Medinova Diagnostics Centre, Pune. The necessary blood tests were done, report obtained and shown to the concerned Doctor for further treatment.
You may please appreciate the concern and the respect shown by a Civilian Doctor for a Chit of an Army Doctor and the family of an Army Offr , in Event-1. Compare this with the treatment meted to a Veterans’ family by an Army Doctors, in Event – 2. You may be knowing that by virtue of co-location of AFMC with Comd Hospital, Pune, draws huge civilian crowd seeking medical attention but the same is denied to veterans.
By the Grace of God Almighty, I am still hale and hearty, so I could drive my wife from CTC, Pune -to Endocrinology Dept of MH Pune, - to Civil OPD Dept & their Blood sample collection Centre, -to ECHS, and to Medinova Diagnostics Centre. Then Collect the report on a specified day and go back to CTC Hospital, Pune. What will be the plight of a family of an OR / widows/ handicapped person ?
I was happy as blood- tests for my family were done, not withstanding that it was ECHS that has paid for these tests. I am not aware of the Fund Position of ECHS, but Iam aware that there are lot many pending bills at your end, perhaps, for the want of funds. Under these circumstances, it is imperative to use these meager funds judiciously. We should use facilities available with Army Hospitals.
In a place like Pune, all the specialist facilities are available in Command Hospital. Pune. Pune is also a fairly big station. [I think it is- a class-II station]. There is a large no of veteran population in and around Pune. So one of the pattern that I would like to suggest is to have three to four polyclinics in the suburbs who could dispense standard medicines for routine ailments. You will agree with me that with age, BP / sugar/ Arthritis etc are comman ailments and routine check-up with routine medicines would suffice. Various Specialists can visit the polyclinics on fixed days. In emergency and complicated cases will have to go to Command Hospital, Pune.
This type of a model was introduced By Lieut Gen Harwant Singh, when he was GOC, 16 Corps, as there was far too much of a load on MH Jammu. So he established Poly-Clinics at four suburbs of Jammu where there is a large population of veterans. Since I was a Station Commander and a Brigade Commander, I am aware that this system worked extremely well. While creating ECHS, this model was later attempted to be copied by Lt Gen S Mehta [Retired as GOC-in C, Western Comd] when he was with AG’s Branch, Army Hq. I am certain, that now that a Special Committee has been set-up, we can improve on this model.
These are some of the thoughts that came to my mind. I am certain with this newly formed committee will deliberate and bring forward a model to the satisfaction of all veterans. Our best wishes will always be there with you in all your endeavours.
Sincerely Yours , Brigadier D A Paranjape,VrC [Retired]