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Kerala - Kozhikode Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Staff crunch hits hospital functioning

By R. Madhavan Nair

KOZHIKODE, NOV. 4. Doctors at the Government General Hospital on beach have warned that the functioning of the hospital will be affected because of lack of doctors to attend to the increasing number of patients.

"The workload on doctors on duty is back-breaking. We are heading for the same fate that met Philomina Vijayan," Dr. N. Haridasan, president of the Kozhikode branch of the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association, told The Hindu today.

Dr. Philomina Vijayan, who was posted at a primary health centre, died recently reportedly owing to stress induced by heavy workload and pressure to provide quality medical care to patients even though there were not enough doctors in the hospital.

Dr. N. Haridasan said the shortage of staff had an adverse impact on the quality of medical care and the health of the doctors.

Doctors above the age of 50 and those who have put in 20 years of service were eligible for certain privileges. But they were forced to forego these benefits in order to provide round-the-clock service at the hospital, he said. Dr. Haridasan said the hospital had only 30 doctors to attend to nearly 1,500 patients who turn up at the hospital Out Patient (OP) ward every day. Not all doctors were on duty every day. The resultant shortage of doctors seriously impaired the functioning of the hospital.

There have been days when a single doctor had to attend to nearly 300 patients who reach the orthopaedics department's OP on an average every day. There were only ortho specialists in the General Hospital. In the medicine department, the number of patients turning up for medical acre is as high as 500, he said.

The association has informed the Health Minister K.K. Ramachandran that the condition in the hospital is alarming. The Minister assured on October 15 that the vacancies of doctors in the hospital would be filled immediately.

The post of Hospital Superintendent has been vacant for seven months and that of the Deputy Superintendent for two months. Three assistant surgeons have been on leave for several months. Because of heavy workload, at least one doctor who joined the hospital recently has taken leave and joined a private hospital.

About 10 senior doctors are also on leave.

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