Shortage of doctors ails Panipat general hospital

Mukesh Tandon

An acute shortage of doctors and paramedics is badly affecting health services at Bhimsen Sachar General Hospital in Panipat. The 200-bed hospital caters to a population of 14 lakh. 

Besides the general hospital, community health centres (CHCs) and primary health centres (PHCs) in Panipat district are also functioning without an adequate number of doctors and supporting staff. As a result, patients have to wait for a long time for their turn to meet doctors and many of them have to return disappointed.

The general hospital situated on the National Highway-44 receives victims of road mishaps and industrial hazards in a large number. Though it is visited by around 1,000 patients every day, it has been working more like a referral centre. Patients are frequently referred to the PGIMS, Rohtak, or Bhagat Phool Singh Medical College for Women at Khanpur.

According to sources, 10 doctors posted at the hospital had been absent from duty for the last 10 years while 13 doctors had resigned in the last two years. The hospital has no general physician. A surgeon and an orthopaedic surgeon remain busy with court evidences or in operating theatres and patients in the OPDs have to suffer. There are three lady doctors posted in the Gynaecology Department at the hospital and one of them went on child care leave 15 days ago.

Of the 103 sanctioned posts of medical officer in Panipat district, only 83 are occupied but some of them are on leave without pay or for higher education. Three of the eight sanctioned posts of deputy civil surgeon are vacant while 26 pharmacists are working against 32 sanctioned posts; there are 24 lab technicians against 38 sanctioned posts, while 66 staff nurses are working against 91sanctioned posts.

Three primary health centres at Chulkana, Seenkh and Sector 11/12 in Panipat are without doctors while the community health centre at Samalkha is without the SMO in-charge for the last many months. 

The government upgraded the hospital from 100 beds to 200 beds. Its construction was started in February 2015 and it cost Rs 33 crore. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the new building of the general hospital on Haryana Day last year. Besides, the government had also announced to provide better medical facilities such as MRI, CT scan, haemodialysis, and a blood bank.

Most of the OPDs have been shifted to the new building and CT scan and X-Ray machines have been installed there. The MRI and haemodialysis facilities will also be provided soon. 

Dr Alok Jain, Medical Superintendent, says only 30 doctors are working in the hospital and five of six of them go for court evidence daily. Besides the shortage of doctors, we are also facing a crunch of other staff, he adds. “We have been sending the requisition of doctors and paramedical staff to the higher authorities every month,” he says.

Dr DN Bagri, Civil Surgeon, says CT scan is being done in the new building and other facilities such as MRI, and haemodialysis will also be provided soon. “We are trying to provide better health services to patients and the higher authorities are well aware about the situation,” he adds.