Srinagar: The new 200-bed block of Kashmir’s lone maternity hospital — Lal Ded, or LD as it is called — was opened with much fanfare in 2014, but no staff – not a single doctor or paramedic – has been recruited for it yet.
Services at the new block are being provided by the staff of LD Hospital in an “internal arrangement”.
“We gave the go-ahead to opening of the new block as the government promised us to recruit more staff for it. But three years have passed and not a single person has been appointed for running the affairs of the facility,” said an administrator.
She said that the existing staff is being forced to handle additional workload, creating further scarcity of doctors and nurses.
“The MCI (Medical Council of India) and NCI (Nursing Council of India) guidelines for the recruitment of doctors and nurses are a distant dream for us at LD Hospital. The government should recruit the requisite staff in critical areas like Post Operative Care Unit and ICUs,” the administrator said.
As per the MCI and NCI guidelines, a hospital’s critical-care departments should have trained medicos and nursing staff with adequate experience in taking care of patients, especially emergency cases. At LD, untrained nursing staff is being used to handle emergency cases due to staff shortage.
“In LD Hospital there are only 90 senior-grade nurses who handle more than 1,200 patients on daily basis. The hospital is short of about 60 nurses and 120 doctors, including faculty members,” sources at the hospital said.
They said that the sanctioned strength of specialist doctors has not been filled and there has been no recruitment since long.
Hospital short of 120 doctors, 60 nurses
Above 100 surgeries performed everyday
1,200 patients visit OPD in a single day
Nearly 100 patients admitted to hospital everyday
Over 100 surgeries performed in a day
As per rules, four faculty members should have been part of one unit. However, only two faculty members are part of each unit of seven doctors at LD Hospital.
“Most of the patients brought here face unnecessary delay in treatment due to the absence of doctors. It also affects OPD services in the hospital. How is it possible for the administration to run a new block in such a situation?” hospital officials questioned.
The hospital’s out-patient department (OPD) receives more than 1,200 patients daily and about 100 admissions take place every day. The hospital conducts more than 100 surgeries a day on average.
“The shortage of medical staff either causes a delay in surgeries or puts extra burden on the existing staff,” said a doctor, wishing anonymity.
She alleged that the absence of specialist doctors in the separate Maternity and Childcare wards has paralysed the hospital’s functioning.
According to sources, the MCI norms are being flouted as one nurse has to look after 15-20 patients in a hospital ward.
As per a senior gynaecologist, vital areas like the labour room, operation theatre, and post-operative care unit are facing acute shortage of doctors and paramedics, with additional work assigned to the staff since the new block came into existence.
“It is becoming difficult by the day to run the hospital without staff,” she said. “Since the new block was inaugurated, there has been no recruitment of staff for it despite several requests to the government,” she said.
“Due to the shortage of trained nurses and doctors, the hospital administration has assigned critical duties to interns and students,” a doctor alleged.
Medical Superintendent of LD Hospital, Dr Nazir Malik, admitted to the shortage of staff in the new block. However, he said, the authorities had recently sent a proposal to the government asking for fresh recruitment.
“We have sent a fresh proposal a month ago asking for fresh staff for the 200-bed block. Let’s hope the government provides us the requisite staff,” he said.