Shortage of doctors in rural areas hit patient care

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By KNT on 25/02/2020.

Shortage of doctors in rural areas hit patient care

Srinagar, Feb 25: Lack of doctors is deeply hitting the patient care in Kashmir’s peripheral hospitals, even as authorities accuse the government of failing to rationalize the staff in its health institutions.

Sources in department of health mentioned, while more doctors than the sanctioned strength have been posted in hospitals in Srinagar city, the lack of medicos is causing deterioration in healthcare delivery in the rural areas.

Supposedly at sub-district hospital Tral, only 10 doctors are available despite the fact that the health facility caters more than 100 villages with an average load of 1000 patients in its OPD every day.

Even major and minor surgeries are also conducted at the SDH Tral daily, an official told Kashmir News Trust.

The hospital, he said, has sanctioned different posts of doctors but many of them have remained vacant for unknown reasons.

The average load of gynecological procedures every week is 10 to 30, according to the data accessed by KNT.

However, SDH Tral is not the only peripheral hospital reeling under shortage of doctors amid high patient load.

At sub district hospital in Pampore, Shopian and Beerwah as well as many district hospitals across the valley, the inadequate number of doctors is severely affecting the healthcare delivery.

 For instance patients said that sub district hospital in Khanyar Srinagar is far developed and upgraded than rest of the sub district hospitals in rural areas.

A senior health department official said more doctors should have been posted in rural hospitals where the patient load is greater, “but the prevailing scenario is completely different”.

He said that government has failed to rationalize staff in accordance with the patient load and has posted more doctors in Srinagar hospitals.

Another sub district hospital Kreeri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district has unavailability of doctors that needs urgent attention.

“Even for treatment of minor ailments patients have to travel to faraway places,” locals said.

They said an orthopedician was recently transferred from the Kreeri hospital after his appointment in the GMC, Baramulla and the post remained unfilled for long.

Pertinently, two B-grade orthopedist posts, two B-grade gynecologists, two pediatrician posts and four anesthesiologist posts are vacant and have not been filled over the years.

Similarly, despite receiving huge patient flow, the hospital faces shortage of nurses and paramedical staff. Also the hospital has only one physiotherapist.

Chief medical officers and block medical officers posted in rural health centres have pinned hopes that health scenario would now improve as the Government Medical College (GMC) north and south have started to function.

A senior health officer admitted that staff in the directorate of health services needs to be rationalized.“We are already on the job and many steps are being taken in this direction,” he said.

He assured that more than hundred medical officers will be posted in peripheral areas.

“Doctors who are in surplus to the sanctioned strength in any health institute would be assigned new postings shortly. We need a lot of staff in peripheries so that load on Srinagar hospitals is reduced.”