Lack of doctors and staff: Udupi's ESI dispensaries struggle to serve beneficiaries

10:31 AM Aug 28, 2023 | PTI |

Slow Progress in Setting Up ESI Super Specialty Hospital in Udupi District Raises Concerns


It has been a year since the central government granted permission to establish a 100-bed super specialty hospital in Udupi district under the Employment Insurance Scheme (ESI), yet construction has not yet commenced. The president of the Common People’s Welfare Foundation, G.A. Koteyar, has initiated a letter campaign to address this issue.

In a move to express their discontent, representatives have decided to stage a strike in front of the District Collector’s office on September 16. Urgent letters have already been dispatched to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Labor Department, Director of Employees State Insurance Corporation, and District Collector, highlighting the pressing need for an ESI Hospital in the district.

The proposed site for the super specialty hospital spans 5 acres near Warambally. However, an additional 50 cents of land has been requested by the ESI due to concerns about potential ambulance traffic obstruction. Until this matter is resolved, construction remains on hold.

Across the district, four ESI dispensaries are operational in Udupi, Kundapur, Manipal, and Karkala. Shockingly, there are only two permanent doctors serving approximately 70,000 beneficiary families. According to regulations, Udupi should have three doctors, and other locations should each have two. Despite recent recruitment of four contract doctors, they are struggling to provide effective coverage due to staffing shortages. Moreover, there’s a shortage of office staff. This results in a single healthcare professional managing daily interviews with 70 to 80 patients, along with the associated documentation work. Nursing staff are even taking on clerical duties.


In D.K. district, ESI dispensaries exist in Karangalpadi, Kulasekhara, Morgan’s Gate, Puttur, Panambur, Padubidri, and Ganjimath. A standalone ESI hospital operates in Shiv Bagh, Kadri, catering to 2 to 3 lakh beneficiaries. However, out of the three allocated positions at dispensaries, only one is filled across the board. Some of these positions are on a contractual basis. At the ESI Hospital, which has 28 sanctioned posts, only four are currently staffed.

Local representatives have observed that the need for high-quality ESI hospitals and clinics has gone unrecognized for several years. Despite doctors raising the issue of understaffing to their superiors, no substantial response has been received. Beneficiaries express disappointment, suggesting that these representatives offer nothing more than promises.

Dr. Vidyakumari, the District Collector, has confirmed that 5 acres have been designated for the ESI Hospital in Varambally. Officials have examined the site and requested an additional 50 cents of land, a request that is expected to be granted shortly.

She aslo assures that all the preliminary processes preceding the hospital’s construction are in their final stages. The building’s location has been selected, and authorities have been instructed to expedite the remaining pending tasks.

Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister, states that the groundwork for the hospital is nearly complete. She emphasizes that the allocated site is ready, and efforts are underway to swiftly finalize the remaining procedural aspects.


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