FPJ Impact: Dental college issues addressed, patients return

Mumbai: A day after ‘Free Press Journal’ reported the sorry state of affairs at the state-run Government Dental College and Hospital at P D’Mello Road, where patients with appointments were being turned away and asked to return 3-4 days later even for a basic X-ray, the hospital received 1,000 X-ray films to resume services at the radiology department in full swing.

The only state-run dental hospital in the city used to get over 500 OPD patients on a daily basis, but when FPJ visited the facility on Wednesday, it wore a deserted look with hardly any patients to be seen.

The hospital was found to be lacking basic materials required for teeth-filling procedures, and patients were being told to come with prior appointment.

The Government Dental College and Hospital on the St George Hospital premises on P D’ Mello Road is one of only two public dental hospitals in the city, the other being the civic-run Nair Hospital Dental College at Mumbai Central. Speaking to FPJ earlier this week, doctors and students at the hospital had said they had been raising the issue with the hospital administration, but to no avail.

On Friday, however, a regular stream of patients were seen queuing up for X-rays at the radiology department. Senior officials from the hospital administration said on Thursday, a day after FPJ’s report, the hospital received a fresh batch of 1,000 X-ray films and that all machines were up and running.

The hospital dean, Dr Vivek Pakhmode, said due to lack of funds, a shortage of equipments, X-ray films and teeth-filling materials sometimes arises. “Earlier we had 300 X-ray films and now we have got 1,000 more. Moreover, we have got the teeth filling materials we needed, so now patients will not be turned away,” he said.

Director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Dr TP Lahane, said, “We tried to solve the problem as soon as possible, for which I made X-ray films and other materials used for dental techniques available. We will make sure such a situation is not repeated in the future.”

Doctors at the hospital, however, said much more could be done to improve the hospital’s condition. They said the X-ray films received on Thursday were not enough as the hospital gets more than 70 patients who require X-rays for their medical examination every day.

“The hospital authority did not float the required tender on time, so we ran out of films. In cases of trauma or accidents, we need to check if the patient has suffered from any fracture, as thin as a hair. It can be identified with an X-ray,” said a senior doctor, requesting anonymity.

Doctors said the hospital needs to procure composite fillings, ceramic, silver fillings and glass ionomer cement that help in the restoration of decayed and fractured teeth.

“After facing a shortage of materials for almost a month, the authority last week had to procure it from local vendors as a stop-gap arrangement. This stock is already exhausted. The materials are also required for practicals for students of the dental college,” said another dentist.

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