Where is Para-medical staff?
Imagine one nurse attending to 16 patients in a ward. This is exactly the scene in the Gastrology Department of the Delhi Government-run G.B. Pant Hospital.
The situation is no different in 40 other hospitals that fall under the Government domain as the medical institutions have been severely hit by shortage of para-medical staff in the past few years.
The deteriorating state of affairs in the Government hospitals and the rising infrastructural needs of upcoming hospitals in the Capital need to be immediately addressed. The Delhi Government is in the process of making operational nearly half a dozen new hospitals during the next one year, but the continued shortage of staff and basic amenities could make things worse.
It is estimated that after these hospitals, some of them super-speciality, become operational the Government will need another Rs. 50 crores to 70 crores a year to maintain them and pay salaries to the staff adding to the budget expenditure.
"If one nurse is to cater to nearly 16 beds that at any point of time have almost two patients each, then the quality of medical aid and care can be well be imagined,'' a senior medical officer remarked.
The Delhi Government hospitals have been constantly struggling to keep medical services up to the rising expectations of the people.
However, this attempt has been hampered by constant shortage of staff and failure to address this issue on a priority basis. For instance, according to official figures nearly 2,248 para-medical staff posts are lying vacant of which 1,100 posts are of the nursing fraternity.
There is shortage of staff in 40 categories including nurses, radiologists, doctors and other specialities that have gained ground during the past few years.
At present, 220 posts of doctors are vacant that need to be filled up at the earliest. For instance, against the 66 posts of anaesthesia specialist only 46 vacancies have been filled up.
Similarly, in the field of surgery, against the requirement of 40, only 29 posts have been filled and in case of medicine against the 43 posts, 38 are filled.
Even leading hospitals like Mualana Azad Medical College, G.B. Pant Hospital and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital face acute shortage of staff with a large number of posts in various categories remaining non-filled.
Sensing the desperate situation, Principal Secretary (Health) Rakesh Mehta, who took up his new assignment recently, is confident that things will improve for the better.
He informed that a Recruitment Board had been set up under former Chief Secretary P.P. Chauhan to fill a number of posts and interviews for the same were already on.
It is expected that this Board will fill around 150 posts in the near future.