Short-staffed Kidwai can’t fully use new equipment

Short-staffed Kidwai can’t fully use new equipment

The new facility that will be inaugurated at Kidwai by the vice-president of India Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday.

The Kidwai Memorial Institue of Oncology is set to add four new linear accelerators to its radiotherapy facility. But staff shortage in the section will continue to hassle patients with a long waiting period.

The hospital is severely short of technicians—for at least three years now— in its radiotherapy section, according to sources in the hospital.

On Tuesday, K B Linge Gowda, Director, Kidwai, said the new linear accelerators would cut short the waiting period for patients. Currently, patients wait for a minimum of one-and-a-half months for their turn to undergo radiotherapy. Dr Gowda said they intend to achieve a zero waiting period for patients with the new facility.

Linear accelerators are machines that are used to generate high power X-rays for radiotherapy used to destroy the malignant cells.

Previously, the hospital had 26 sanctioned posts for technicians, out of which 13 were filled. With three being promoted, only 10 technicians worked in shifts to attend the patients.

"The existing staff work on a six-to-seven-hour shift on the three existing linear accelerators as well as the four new ones. They work in three shifts in a day," said the source.

Each day, 90 patients are treated with every machine with the technicians.

"Out of the 26 sanctioned posts, several of them were recruited on a temporary basis. Their services have been stopped. Some others have retired. The new machines cannot be put to use until the additional staff is sanctioned," said a technician seeking anonymity.

The functioning of these radiotherapy labs is as per the guidelines laid down by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. "For the three existing accelerators and the new four to be functional, we need at least 53 technicians," said the source.

Additional posts

With these new machines installed, the autonomous institute has now received a permission to increase the sanctioned posts to 34. "The Karnataka Examinations Authority has to conduct exams and based on merit, permanent staff would be recruited," said the source. 

"We have called for the interview to fill the posts yesterday. While the process for recruiting permanent staff is underway, four temporary staff would be appointed. No services will suffer due to lack of technicians," said Dr Gowda.