Srinagar: The menace of ‘volunteerism’ has been pestering the healthcare system in the state, especially the peripheral healthcare for years now. The authorities seemingly, are not taking required steps to deal with the issue by strengthening the manpower base, but are relying on the services of ‘volunteers’ only.
The para-medics, who pursue certain courses from the institutions outside the state, after coming back, start working as volunteers in different sections of the hospital, especially at blood banks and laboratories and other sensitive places such as operation theatres.
The menace is in vogue at District and Sub-District hospital, where the officials, while succumbing to the pressure from their higher-ups, appoint volunteers to deal with the pressure on temporary basis.
“Such volunteers are usually under-trained and we have to train them here, all that they are having is a qualification certificate and nothing much,” said an official, who seemed to be against the practice of involving volunteers at critical spots in the healthcare system.
The case to illustrate the point is that of Sub-District Hospital, Sopore and many others, where the matters pertaining to blood bank have been handed over to the volunteers, even the crucial process of cross-matching the blood-group have also been handed over to them, which only a certified laboratory technologist should have been doing.
“There was a necessity of having a full-fledged blood bank at SDH Sopore, however, there was no ample infrastructure and the manpower to run the same, the concerned, though operationalized the blood bank without having the requisites to do the same,” the official, said.
“Only one technically sound person has been appointed in the blood bank while as all other jobs have been handed over to the volunteers,” added the official.
The situation is said to be the same at various other hospital at District and Sub-District level in the state, where the affairs have been handed over to the volunteers, who at times jeopardize the efficient functioning of the system, while also putting patient lives at risk.
“In case there is any malpractice or negligence on part of such volunteers, there is nobody who can blame them, rather the blame comes directly onto the person who actually is qualified, and has got nothing to do with the negligence,” said a doctor.
Interestingly, the government has been installing modern machinery at various hospitals in the peripheries, however, the lack of manpower is putting these equipments to no use at all.
“The places where the volunteers are actually stationed are not the places to learn, but to execute certain tasks, and while doing so they, at times, jeopardise the tasks and the onus lies on the incharge employees of these units,” the official added.