Manpower crisis limits CT scan service at CMCH
The CT scan service at Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) has resumed after four years but a shortage of manpower is still depriving many patients of the service.
At the end of February this year, hospital authorities replaced the old machine but the service is being offered for only six hours a day, due to manpower shortage at the radiology and imaging department.
The department currently has only nine technicians for X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, and CT (Computerised Tomography) scan, doctors at the hospital said while stressing the need for fresh recruitment.
“At present, the CT scan service is available from 8:30am to 2:30pm. We could offer it round-the-clock if five more technicians were assigned,” observed Subash Mazumder, associate professor and head of the radiology department.
“When patients with head injuries come to the emergency at night, they do not get the service immediately. They have to wait till the morning,” he told The Daily Star.
Farid Uddin, 52, who suffered a stroke, was brought to CMCH on January 18.
“My father runs a small shop and I am the eldest son,” said Farid's son Saiful, a master's student of Chittagong College. “The doctors at the Neuromedicine Unit advised CT scan but we had to wait for two days to gather the money to perform the test at a diagnostic centre.”
At CMCH, CT scan costs Tk 2,000-Tk 4,000 but at private diagnostic centres the cost rises up to Tk 4,000-Tk 15,000.
Wali Ashraf Khan, general manager of Popular Diagnostic Centre, Chattogram, said cost of CT scan at his centre ranged between Tk 4,000 and Tk 14,500.
“The cost of CT scan for whole abdomen is Tk 14,500 while for brain it's Tk 4,000,” he said.
Subash also pointed out scarcity of doctors in the radiology department. “At present, there is only one associate professor and one assistant professor. Posts of one professor, one associate professor, and five assistant professors need to be filled,” said the physician.
Director of CMCH Brig Gen Mohsen Uddin Ahmed, however, said, the new machine was still under testing. “We are monitoring its performance. If everything goes right, it will go for operation in full swing by the end of this month.”
According to him, the 1,313-bed hospital attends around 2,500 patients daily. “It was initially a 550-bed hospital. Although the number of beds was increased twice, the manpower was not upgraded accordingly,” said Brig Gen Mohsen.
CT scans are conducted to get a clean picture of lesions, said Aniruddha Ghosh, associate professor of medicine at CMCH.
Sources at the hospital told this correspondent that some 300 to 450 patients used to take service from the old CT scan machine every month. The machine was installed in 2006 but it broke down in 2014. The new machine was bought at Tk 7 crore in November last year and finally installed at the end of February this year, they said.
Patients, particularly those from low and middle-income families, suffered badly during these four years.