Staff Shortage hampers Emergency Services in Govt Hospitals

Staff Shortage hampers Emergency Services in Govt Hospitals

Saumya Mishra | April 21, 2018 15:40 hrs

With a number of government hospitals in the city facing staff crunch, patients are facing a harrowing time in emergency cases where medical attention is required at the earliest.   

In a recent case, city-based writer and editor, Simanta Bhagawati, who suffered a stroke on April 19, was rushed to Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH) in Panbazar.

Incidentally, Bhagawati suffered a stroke while playing recreational tennis at his club at Dighalipukhuri, Guwahati. Fellow members immediately took him to the emergency ward of MMCH. However, his friends told G Plus that the absence of paramedical staff at the MMCH proved to be of immense difficulty since Bhagawati needed prompt attention. 

“Upon reaching the hospital, I rushed into the Emergency and apprised the nurses that we needed a wheelchair. They pointed at one that was available and it was clear that we would have to wheel in the patient ourselves as there was no paramedical staff at hand for the same. Thereafter, the doctor asked for a CT scan to be done. The CT scan facility was located right at the other end of the hospital compound and we had to cart the patient on a stretcher by ourselves wasting a lot of time in the process,” said Bimal Bharali, recounting the experience adding that he shuddered to think what would have happened had it been raining as carting the patient to the CT scan room meant that he would have had to be taken right through the open compound as there was no internal passage connecting the two wings.

He added that especially in cases of stroke, it becomes crucial for the patient to be brought to the hospital within one hour of the onset of symptoms to ensure that the sufferer gets prompt medical attention.

“In a majority of cases, the lives of patients can be saved if they are brought to the hospital within the ‘golden period.’ But with hospitals facing severe staff crunch, the families of emergency patients are often left to fend for themselves,” informed Dipak Das, another tennis mate of Bhagawati, who was also present during the time.

There are a number of similar cases where the patients and their families suffer due to the problem of staff shortage in government hospitals.  

Talking to G Plus, KK Deka, deputy medical superintendent of Mahendra Mohan Choudhary Hospital (MMCH) admitted that they do face a problem because of staff crunch, especially with the paramedical staff.    

“A number of paramedical staffs have retired but fresh appointments have not taken place since a long time, resulting in a shortage,” Deka added.  

He, however, said that all recruitments for MMCH are conducted by Gauhati Medical College & 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 has decided to rationalize the number of doctors and paramedical staff.

“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 & family welfare department.

The state 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.

Apart from rationalizing the manpower, the National Health Mission (NHM) will also recruit close to 2,000 health professionals in Assam this year. There are a total of 22,000 sanctioned posts in NHM.

“We are also looking at outsourcing the recruitment works to an outside agency. This is also under process,” said Nilim Bora, consultant planning at NHM.

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