Fazilka, March 25
The 101-year-old local civil hospital, having a sanctioned strength of 50 beds operating as 75 beds, is facing an acute shortage of doctors, nurses and other para-medics. The hospital, deemed to cater to the needs of a district hospital, has virtually been reduced to a community health centre in the last six months.
The hospital has sanctioned posts of 12 medical officers, of which eight are vacant. About six months back, eight doctors were there on the roll but the only medical specialist, Dr Davinder Bhukkal, and the skin specialist Dr SK Parnami, were promoted. Thereafter, the only surgeon, Dr Rajesh Sharma and child specialist Dr Hans Raj, were also promoted last week.
Different welfare programmes started by the state and the central governments such as family planning, NRHM, school health, and RNTCP, have been hit hard following the shortage of medical officers. There is a daily turn-out of about 400 patients in the OPD. A large number of family planning cases also pour in for surgery. During this peak season, over 200 delivery cases are also conducted in the hospital. Of these, around 20 per cent are obstructed labour cases.
Besides, a large number of general patients and medical emergencies remain unattended. Many needy patients who cannot afford costly private treatment are the worst-hit.
Hundreds of patients remain hovering in the OPD and emergency complex awaiting treatment. The doctors are burdened with the tardy job of maintaining the emergency services round-the-clock in the the absence of any emergency medical officer.
Along with this, these doctors remain involved in different compulsory programmes of the Health Department. They have to conduct post mortems and attend courts for evidence as legal obligation.
Similarly, of the 24 sanctioned posts of staff nurses, 11 are vacant. Of the nine sanctioned posts of sweepers, seven are vacant. The blood bank of the local hospital, which is supplying around 250 units of blood per month, three times more than its fixed target, is without a blood transfusion officer.
Senior Medical Officer SP Garg said, "At least two surgeons, two medical specialists, two gynaecologists, three emergency medical officers and one radiologist, skin specialist, child specialist and blood transfusion officer are urgently required." Besides, the vacancies of nurses need to be filled up. Twelve more ward servants and six sweepers, three laboratory technicians for blood bank are also required.
More budget for emergency and general patients is required because the user charge collection has fallen due to the government scheme of providing free delivery and Caesarean section services.
He also pleaded for installation of CT scan machine, a new ambulance, a digital X-ray equipped with the C-Art facility, an auto refractor meter for vision testing.
"The hospital should be upgraded to a district-level hospital with 100-bed facility to cater to the need of over two lakh population of Fazilka. The health authorities have submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Forest Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani," he added.