There is a referral shortage at Srinagar's tertiary hospitals
There is a referral shortage at Srinagar's tertiary hospitals

Tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar are experiencing a crisis of referral disarray as a result of the massive influx of patients from various district hospitals that are being sent to the city hospitals.

The loss of a critical window of time for people experiencing medical emergencies is the most worrisome effect of this referral mayhem.


Treatments that might save lives are being delayed owing to the referral procedure, particularly for trauma and serious medical situations.

The referral procedure has to be streamlined immediately, according to health authorities who have also voiced their concerns.

Each year, Srinagar’s tertiary care hospitals get at least 50,000 referral patients from district hospitals, adding to their workload.

According to official statistics from the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura alone receives more than 18,000 referral cases annually, highlighting the severity of the problem.

Similar to this, Lal Ded Maternity Hospital manages more than 10,000 referral cases each year, whereas SMHS Hospital gets roughly 3500 of these patients.

According to data from the Bone and Joint Hospital, referrals account for 18% of its patients, and 850 to 900 cases at CD Hospital’s Out Patient Department (OPD) are also referred by other districts in 70% of those instances.

According to SKIMS statistics, of the 800 emergency patients and 5,000 OPD cases per month, about 600 emergency cases and 3000 OPD cases come from various districts in Kashmir, in addition to referrals.

In nearly the previous seven months, Lal Ded Hospital has recorded nearly 4600 referral cases, whereas SMHS and CD Hospital have each received 250 and 200 cases, respectively.

Greater Kashmir was informed by the SKIMS, Soura, medical superintendent, Dr. Farooq Jan, that patients from various districts make up the majority of the hospital’s emergency and outpatient department patients.

Dr. Jan said that in addition to recommendations, patients were choosing to come to SKIMS.

“We cordially invite each patient from one of our areas to the hospital. The therapy cannot be disputed. People come here with hope. We handle them. No issues exist here,” he said.

According to Dr. Jan, the district hospitals, which include basic healthcare facilities, have improved.

So they should restrict unnecessary referrals, he argued, in order to preserve important time.

Greater Kashmir was informed by Dr. Muzaffar Hussain Sherwani, Medical Superintendent at Lal Ded Hospital, that 50% of referrals are unjustified and 50% are justified.

He said that referral patients from the periphery are also brought to the hospital.

“In spite of government medical colleges being located in several areas, Referrals are still coming in. Our most frequent referral sources are the districts of Anantnag and Baramulla, he added.

In the meantime, Greater Kashmir was informed by the Medical Superintendent of Bone and Joint Hospital, Barzulla, Dr. Mian Suhail, that 18% of the facility’s patients come via referrals.

Prior to this, all J&K health facilities were required to file a monthly report detailing recommendations received from the Government Medical Colleges of Srinagar and Jammu, as well as the Directorates of Health in Kashmir and Jammu.

As referrals place a significant burden on tertiary care facilities and underutilize resources at the district level, the government has also requested hospitals to reduce this practice.



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