Shortage of doctors has hit the healthcare system at the district headquarters hospital, affecting especially those belonging to the below poverty line category. The vacant posts of specialists at the hospital and shortage of nurses on the staff force the ones already on duty to work overtime. Situated at the district headquarters town, which is surrounded with several big and small industrial units, local people heavily depend on the hospital. According to the data provided by the hospital authorities, over 700 patients turn up every day at the hospital. But, it lacks adequate specialists, medicines and toilets among others. According to the officials, the 239-bed hospital with sanctioned strength of 48 doctors has only 21. Specialists in departments such as orthopedic, skin, eye, anesthesia and ENT are lying vacant. Also, against the sanctioned strength of two posts of surgeons, the hospital has only one. Besides, it has two and three pediatricians and gynecologists against the sanctioned strength of three and four posts, respectively. Making things worse, the hospital has only 55 number of staff nurses against a requirement of over 100 in proportion to the bed.
Shortage of doctors is nothing new for this hospital as these posts have been lying vacant for long. Even the higher authorities are not bothered to fill up the posts in this tribal-dominated district. “What’s the rationale behind constructing additional wards and buildings when there are no doctors to treat patients? Sometime ago, I rushed my wife to the hospital as she broke her leg, but had to return without treatment as the hospital didn’t have an orthopedic,” said local resident Sanjay Sahu. An activist Balaram Panda was also critical of the lack of facilities at the hospital. “Owing to non-availability of anaesthetists, serious surgery cases are being refereed to SLN Medical College and Hospital in Koraput, which lies at a distance of 100 km from here.” Hospital manager-in-charge Pradeep Sahu said: “We have appraised about the vacancies to the higher authorities and are hopeful to get few more doctors shortly. At present, we are managing with the available resources.” – Telegraph India