More workforce needed in city's health system

More workforce needed in city's health system

AAP's 70-point manifesto highlights the need for more maternity beds

With the AAP proposing to expand health infrastructure with more primary health centres and beds in the capital, health experts said there will be a need to increase the overall manpower in order to achieve an improved health system.

Currently, patient overload is the basic problem that hospitals in the city face. More health centres and beds is a welcome move, say experts. However, the question remains how the “desired outcome” will be achieved in a given timeframe.

“In the given system, it will not be possible to expand the number of beds in the already existing hospitals. So there is a need for an additional number of hospitals, some of which are already in the pipeline. It is a given norm that with the expansion of beds, there will be the need to increase the manpower,” says a senior official of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS). This means recruiting more nurses, doctors and administrative staff.

Hospitals now face an acute shortage of beds with an overload of patients from across and outside the state. The AAP decision to set up 900 new primary health centres (PHCs), if it is implemented, will reduce the rush at hospitals.

“If people have the option of going to health centres near their homes, they would not come from far-flung areas to hospitals for regular ailments. So patients would not need to queue up outside hospital OPDs. More number of beds or upcoming hospitals will ensure decongestion of hospital wards,” says Dr Siddharth Ramji, medical superintendent, Lok Nayak Hospital.

If the plans of setting up PHCs is executed, tertiary care hospitals can then focus on the more serious patients.

The AAP’s 70-point manifesto also highlights the need for maternity beds. Of the 30,000 additional beds in Delhi hospitals, 4,000 will be in maternity wards, the party has promised. However, according to experts, the focus on maternity wards should be in the fringes of Delhi. Converting current beds into maternity beds would not help.

“The need of the hour is creating hospitals and adding maternity beds in the periphery of Delhi. It is from these areas that the hospitals receive the maximum number of patients. So adding just maternity beds in the existing hospitals will not make a difference,” says Dr Monika Suri, gynaecologist, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.  

Even though the AAP has promised generic, affordable and high quality drugs for public, availability of drugs in PHCs and hospital dispensaries remains a problem with patients who say most of the times even slightly expensive medicines are not in stock. Patients also complain of poor quality drugs from time to time in the state-run hospitals.

“For drugs to be available for all, stocks need to be replenished more frequently. It is also important that spurious drugs be eliminated from the market and high-quality free drugs are given out from government dispensaries. For this, it is necessary that a higher budget be allocated for the health sector,” says Dr Anil Bansal, chairperson, anti-quackery cell, Delhi Medical Association.

The new government also needs to strongly clamp down on quacks practising in the city.  

Places like Anand Parbat, Jahangirpuri, Karol Bagh, Seemapuri, Sangam Vihar, Kirari, Mangolpuri and Chirag Dilli, among other places which have slum clusters lose several lives to illegal doctors every year. But little has been done to eliminate quacks, doctors feel. Till the time the illegal clinics are shut, the health sector will not improve.

“At present, cases go on for years before a quack is punished. We need designated courts to deal with quackery cases so that the cases are fast-tracked and the illegal doctors are punished,” says Dr Girish Tyagi, Registrar, Delhi Medical Council.

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