Patients at the Chitwan-based BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital (BPKMCH) and their relatives have met Minister for Health and Population, Mohan Bahadur Basent, to apprise him of challenges they are facing to receive proper treatment.
The Minister who had been here to visit the hospital on Tuesday was intervened by a group of cancer patients at the hospital entrance and was told that patients at were not given timely care.
Dibya Timilsina, a cancer patient from Morang, told the Minister that they were compelled to seek the service from other private facilities as the hospital was inadequately equipped.
Balaram Subedi from Parbat, a caregiver of his spouse battling cancer, accused the hospital doctors of referring patients to other facilities, even when hospital beds were available. “We are asked to stay in a queue for the admissions of our ailing relatives even when hospital beds are unoccupied.”
The group also informed the Minister that they were not receiving the benefits covered by health insurance and had difficulty obtaining even general drugs from the hospital pharmacy. “We are unable to get even Cetamol, a common pain reliever, under our health insurance,” Subedi explained.
Krishna Prasad Neupane, a visitor from Gulmi, accused the hospital staff of not responding well to visitors while a woman from Sarlahi said that she had been facing challenges in seeking treatment due to financial issues. She told the Minister that she was so far depended on charity to seek the care.
The group also reported that the hospital lacked basic amenities for patients, including access to clean drinking water, proper toilets, and a canteen.
In response, the Minister assured the group that he would investigate the reported issues and take action against anyone found responsible. He directed the hospital administration to provide the Ministry with monthly details of referral cases, emphasizing that no government health facility should refer patients to private hospitals.
Referring the recent case about the death of a girl in the Kanti Children’s Hospital in want of timely intervention, the Minister said the medical team responsible for the incidence would face consequences.
He directed the cancer hospital administration to implement the service enhancement plan promptly and deliver the results. “The Ministry will facilitate towards that end.”
According to hospital executive director Dr Shibaji Poudel, the hospital presently receives up to 1,115 people in its OPD on a daily basis with some 225 being new and remaining others arriving for follow-ups. He said they were committed to enchaining the services of a 450-bed facility in the days to come and were working accordingly.
On the occasion, hospital board of directors chair Dr Bijay Neupane said that the hospital had faced challenges due to a vacant executive chief position for four months. He assured that efforts were underway to address the hospital’s issues gradually. The hospital got the new executive director just a week ago.