Govt hospitals in Guwahati reeling under staff crunch

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Govt hospitals in Guwahati reeling under staff crunch

Saumya Mishra | July 06, 2019 17:24 hrs

Majority of the government hospitals and primary health centres under Kamrup (Metro) district face shortage of staff, which is becoming a major cause of concern for patients.
  
As per the reply to an RTI (Right to Information) request filed by G Plus, the state health and family welfare department revealed that there are 151 vacancies which were yet to be filled in Kamrup (Metro) till October 2018.
 
These posts include that of doctors, nurses as well as paramedical and grade IV staff. However, this figure does not include vacancies in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).  

As per Census 2011 report, Kamrup Metro has a population of 12.6 lakh people while the floating population of the district is much higher. However, the number of doctors and medical professionals is not enough to meet the requirements of the people.

As per the data obtained, there are currently 243 doctors in Kamrup (Metro) including regular and National Health Mission (NHM) doctors. Out of this, there are 157 regular doctors and 86 doctors from NHM.
   
Joint director of health services of Kamrup (M) district, Ganesh Saikia, told G Plus that there is a deficit of doctors across the state. “There are some vacancies which the government is now filling up slowly. There are currently around seven regular posts for doctors vacant in Kamrup (M),” informed Saikia.   
He further added that as the contractual posts of doctors are need based, these are filled as they become vacant. 
           
Major government hospitals in the city like Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH), too, face staff shortage. 
   
An official at MMCH informed, “A number of paramedical staffs have retired but fresh appointments have not taken place since a long time, resulting in a shortage.” 
    
He, however, said that all recruitments for MMCH are conducted by Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) since it is an annexe of the GMCH.

On the other hand, in order to meet the requirement of doctors and other health officials in Kamrup (Metro) and other districts, the health and family welfare department decided last year to rationalize the number of doctors and paramedical staff in the state. 
 
“In a number of hospitals and health sub centres, we find that there is a shortage of doctors and nurses whereas in some places they are in excess. We are taking steps to rationalize their strength and bring in doctors where there is a shortage,” said an official of the health and family welfare department.

The state has a total of 22,000 sanctioned posts under NHM, but according to the data there are 18,801 NHM positions filled, leaving a deficit of 3199 staff under NHM in the state.
        
Assam has been reeling under acute shortage of doctors for a long time especially in remote and hilly areas as doctors are reluctant to get posted in such areas.

As per the WHO norms, there should be one doctor for every 1,000 population. However, according to reports, the Assam figures are dismal at one doctor for close to2,000 people. 
  
“There are several posts available and vacant in BTAD areas and Barak Valley but newcomers are reluctant to take up posts in these areas,” informed Saikia.
    
On the other hand, lack of adequate manpower remains one of the major reasons why Guwahatians remain disappointed with the quality of health services offered by government hospitals.
  
According to a G Plus survey conducted last year, at least 84% Guwahati residents do not have faith in government hospitals and prefer going to private hospitals or clinics for treatment.

According to the results of the survey, 73.3% respondents said they preferred to get themselves or their family members treated at private hospitals. Further, 11% of the population said they usually favour going out of the state for medical treatment.

On the other hand, merely 15.7% participants said they preferred to go to government hospitals.

Experts feel that at a time when the state government is laying a lot of emphasis on improving the overall medical facilities and infrastructure in Assam, it still has a long way to go to gain the trust of a majority of the population in public healthcare. 

Manpower details as on 9.10.2018

Manpower

Regular

NHM

Others

Total Kamrup(M)

Total Assam

Doctors

157

86

0

243

4602

Nurses

280

594

0

874

16861

Para medical staff

75

105

5

185

4915

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