Too many patients, too few doctors

City govt plan to open mohalla clinics, polyclinics doesn't seem to have worked

 With the Aam Aadmi Party completing almost a year in office, doctors at government hospitals and primary health centres (PHCs) say the issue of acute shortage of manpower continues.

The AAP government had promised in its election manifesto to bring down the patient workload at hospitals by opening mohalla clinics and polyclinics.

According to the government’s plans, the hospitals will be tertiary care centres which will offer specialised services in the long run. 

“The issue of manpower has not been addressed so far. Hospitals continue to be overloaded. While the government has come up with polyclinics, there is no additional staff support,” said a medical superintendent, requesting anonymity.

“Specialised doctors are attending OPDs and also catering to patients at the clinics. Soon, more mohalla clinics will come up. It will be difficult to run this model successfully if the existing vacant posts are not filled and more doctors are not recruitedThere is also an immediate need to properly equip the polyclinics.”

“In a recent case, a patient started having seizures at the polyclinic. But there was no ambulance at the polyclinic to shift the patient. The infrastructure should be expanded,” said a doctor at Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital.

Another medical superintendent said doctors are also caught up in non-medical work.
“Doctors should be first taken off the non-medical work if they have to focus across hospitals and primary health centres.”

The Kejriwal government had recently free medicines at government hospitals starting February 1.
The government is now implementing the Central Procurement Agency through which medicines will be procured through a central database.

his has further hit the medicinal supply, according to doctors. In some situations, medical superintendents can make local purchases.

“Doctors have been asked not to prescribe medicines which are not in the EDL or out of stock at the hospital. The supply needs to be improved first. But we are hopeful the stocks will improve once the CPA is in place,” said a senior gynaecologist at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital.

“The government had also given instructions to doctors to maintain their work log daily. This is feasible as doctors attend to patients as a team,” said the doctor.

Security at hospitals also continues to be another major issue. “The government had promised to review the security issue of doctors at government hospitals. This issue still remains unaddressed,” said Dr Pankaj Solanki, president, Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA).

Maternity centres being turned into polyclinics was a “hurried” move, say administrative officials.
“Dedicated maternity centres and dispensaries are run to encourage locals to seek medical intervention at an early stage of any discomfort. The existing dispensaries are being shut to open polyclinics. The dedicated maternity centre at Kanti Nagar was shut to turn it into a polyclinic.

But the staff stregth remains the same. Doctors are being sent from dispensaries or near-by hospitals to run the polyclinics,” said a senior doctor at Hedgewar Hospital.

However, according to some doctors the opening of polyclinics is a good idea as locals can seek “specialised services”.

“The dispensary offered only basic services whereas a polyclinic is offering diagnostic services and specialised OPDs,” said Dr faheem Ahktar, in-charge, Kanti Nagar polyclinic.

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