Staff crunch leads to woes in NC Joshi Hospital

Number of senior doctors, nurses far below sanctioned strength

An acute staff crunch, including that of doctors and nurses, has marred services at a government hospital in the heart of the city. 

The outpatient department has to either close or work inefficiently if even one senior doctor goes on leave.

Dr NC Joshi Hospital in Karol Bagh is one of the oldest undertakings of Delhi government. It  provides OPD services in medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology and obstetrics, eye , ENT, dental, surgery, physiotherapy and orthopaedics. For nine OPD departments and 30 beds, the sanctioned strength of doctors is 14 senior doctors, three senior residents and four junior residents. Three posts of senior doctors are vacant, causing problems in ENT and orthopaedics departments.

“ENT does not give any service. It is operating just for namesake,” said a patient. Among nursing staff, four out of 10 sanctioned posts are vacant for many years. The auxiliary nurse-midwife, who is supposed to provide healthcare to the local population through outreach, is forced to function as staff nurse due to the shortage.    

It is only recently that an expert has been appointed in the eye department to check patients for the power of their glasses. Other paramedical staff were also recruited recently after a gap of many years.

Interestingly, the hospital is run from three complexes. A road with traffic flowing divides the administrative, OPD and internal patients blocks.

“It was a private hospital till 1970 when it was donated to Delhi government. Due to a land dispute, we could not go in for reconstruction,” said Dr Umed Singh, medical superintendent. The hospital is under renovation, so a tin roof is being replaced with a concrete one.

“We are constructing a maternity ward in the building that houses administration. But the clearance for the staff for it is still has to come,” said Dr Singh. He added that the Delhi government has asked for upgrading the hospital to 60 beds in the 12th Five Year Plan. 

“We have asked for an increase of staff to three times so that the emergency ward can run round the clock,” said Dr Singh.

He added, “The government is in the process of acquiring land on Deshbandhu Gupta Road, close to the existing building, for a 200-bed hospital. The current building will then become an institute of orthopaedics.”

As the proposals remain pending, 800 patients who visit the hospital daily continue to suffer.

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