Staff shortage at GTB Hospital

Staff shortage at GTB Hospital

Fights at counters, workers do overtime

Shortage of staff in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, the biggest tertiary care hospital of east Delhi, is affecting patient-care.

There are frequent fights at medicine counters as people stand in long queues and employees have to work overtime.

According to a data from medical superintendent’s office on May 11, around 248 regular posts of group 'C' and 'D' employees are vacant.

Total sanctioned posts are 1,499. Out of these, 1,051 filled posts belong to regular category, while 200 posts are on contract basis waiting for regular employees.

Group 'C' and 'D' employees consist of nursing staff and all the technical staff including laboratory technicians, sanitary inspectors and blacksmiths.

"We have been demanding filling of vacant positions for a long time. In a meeting at chief minister's residence in 2009, we were made many promises. Some have been fulfilled, but the posts still lie vacant," said Mohan Singh Gahlot, additional general secretary, Delhi state health workers joint struggle committee.

The effect of shortage is seen in the delivery of healthcare services in the hospital. Patients and family members form long queues for getting medicines in a closed stuffed hall.

Not more than three out of seven counters ever open at a time.

Out of 30 sanctioned posts for pharmacists, 24 are filled — 22 are regular employees and two on contract basis.

"Four of these are posted out of the hospital at places like Delhi state cancer institute and state health ministry.

This leaves the pharmacy with a strength of 20 employees," said a member of GTB workers' union.
Frustrated patients

With one-third of the staff missing, all counters can never be opened. This creates frustration among patients — who would have stood in innumerable queues since morning.

On non-availability of prescribed medicines, which happens often, patients and attendants lose cool and indulge in fights with pharmacists at a counter.

In certain cases the existing employees have to take the burden of vacant positions. In other hospitals under Delhi government, lab technicians in operation theatres (OTs) work in shifts of eight hours.

Due to lack of staff, technicians in OTs in GTB hospital have to work overtime.

"If a surgery is on till late evening, we have to stay till it ends. At times it means working for 12 hours," said a technician.

Sanctioned posts for the OT employees is 130, out of which 91 are filled and 39 remain vacant. “We cannot have employees in shifts due to shortage of staff. It has been communicated a lot of times but nothing happened,” said a senior official of the hospital.

Lacking

* Out of 30 posts for pharmacists only 24 are filled.
* Of the 24 filled vacancies, two are still on contract.
* Four of these are posted out of GTB, leaving only 20 workers at the hospital’s disposal.

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