Misery of Doctors in Himachal: Dr. ailing with Diarrhea, still stretching 36 hours shifts to attend patients
SHIMLA-On last Wednesday, Dr, Bhramjeet, one of the two doctors provided at Bhavanagar Community Health Centre (CHC) in Tehsil Nissar of district Kinnaur, himself fell ill. His condition worsened and was put on IV. He informed that he has Diarrhea and isn’t well enough to exert but still someone has to attend the patients. So, with IV attached to his arm, he was still attending about 150-200 patients per day at OPD.
Not only people, but doctors are pushed to limits due to shortage of staff. The picture depicts the misery of doctors. Similarly, paramedical staff is also facing extreme stress due to shortage of staff and high number of patients visiting the CHC. In case one of the doctors is in field or away for meeting, the other doctor is burdened with as long as 36 hours of continuous shift.
Shortage of health staff, especially specialists is not new to Himachal Pradesh. Government has announced new four medical colleges and development of new health infrastructure under political pressure, but did not attend to acute shortage of health staff already existing CHCs and PHCs are facing.
In July, the health minister Kaul Singh had admitted that there is acute shortage of doctors in Himachal. He had announced walk-in-interviews. He had claimed that despite all efforts, about 650 posts of doctors are still vacant in government hospitals.
The sanctioned strength of MBBS doctors has been increased from 1597 to 2091 and inspite of the recruitment of 516 doctors, the back log of vacancies is huge,
had admitted Thakur.
The retirement age of the doctors were increased to 65 years to fulfill requirement of teaching faculty in new medical colleges. However, the problem of staff-shortage still remains a critical issue.
Recently, there have been reports of assault on doctors by people annoyed at lack of facilities and improper treatment. While doctors do their best, their efficiency is limited by government’s lethargy and short-sightedness. In some instances like in district Kullu, people had beaten the doctor and tried to set the hospital on fire after a youth died of injuries procured in a road accident. The real reason was that there was only one doctor, who was attending to some other patient.
Moreover, the doctors and health staff in remote regions of Himachal are provided with poor residential accommodations that are poorly equipped in terms of facilities.
Opposition and Union Health Minister have also been criticizing the state government alleging politically motivated posting of doctors, which create increases the difference in ratio of patients and doctors at hospitals.