By Brig KG Behl (Retd)
DEHRADUN, 16 Jun: Merging of ECHS with MHs all over the country is totally unwarranted as ECHS was set up after considering all pros and cons. After very long discussions and facing lot of teething troubles, the ECHS was set up. Some of those involved in getting sanctions for the different processes of setting up and expediting works know how much efforts were made at different levels to ensure implementation. There were times when they had to beg and borrow from different departments so that ECHS could keep on functioning, despite not having proper facilities of seating, facing inclement weather, shortage of staff, doctors and even medicines, leave aside the indifferent attitude of some of the members of staff at Military Hospitals.
It is surprising that once the ECHS has been set up all over the country and started functioning smoothly, some persons who are unable to digest facilities being given in ECHS but not being available in MH are trying to merge the two so that they may also start getting those facilities.
Surprisingly, in most of the MHs, no additional departments have been added except some latest equipment in existing departments. This is despite the long felt necessity and demand for departments like Cardiac, Neurology and many others for which patients are referred to hospitals in New Delhi, Lucknow, Pune, Bengaluru, etc., where it becomes very difficult for veterans to travel and stay to get the necessary treatment. This they can get locally now under ECHS by being referred to empanelled civil hospitals.
Veterans have been requesting time and again that the authorities develop such facilities at MHs, especially the one in Dehradun, which is supposed to cater to so many formations, here, and are badly needed. If these become available in MH, ECHS may refer the cases there and lots of Government money could be saved. ECHS has is no shortage of funds but the pinch was being felt due to mishandling of certain issues, which can be set right by removing those who were indulging in such behaviour. Merging ECHS with MHs is not the answer; rather ECHS hospitals should be raised if these facilities cannot be provided in MHs. Merger is not the general consensus among the veterans.