Srinagar, Oct 9: As part of ‘Third wave’ preparedness, 106 doctors have been deputed at the DRDO Covid 19 hospital in Kashmir.
The huge manpower allocated to this hospital, while depriving peripheries of specialists, has treated just over 60 patients in the past four months, an RTI has revealed.
The 500-bedded DRDO Covid 19 hospital in Khanmoh area of Kashmir was inaugurated in June this year. At that point, Covid 19 second wave was at its peak in the UT and hundreds of patients were undergoing treatment at various hospitals, mostly in Srinagar’s tertiary care health sector. The routine patient care services had been stalled and SMHS hospital, SKIMS Soura, SKIMS Medical College hospital Bemina and many other hospitals had stalled OPDs, diagnostic services, surgical and other procedures. The DRDO hospital was expected to ease the load of these hospitals and add to the bed strength if and when the third wave would strike.
Accordingly, advertisements were floated for contractual appointments for various posts. However, in the due course of time, apart from making selections for some posts, J&K government deputed doctors from various hospitals under Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) to serve at the hospital. The Directorate, as per an RTI application filed by activist Mubashir Shuja, sent 11 Physicians, 7 pediatricians, 7 Anesthetics and 27 Medical Officers to DRDO hospital. These doctors were drawn from various hospitals, sub-district level and above across districts of Kashmir division where they were rendering their services to treat the hundreds of patients who would report at these far-flung facilities.
The RTI reply further reveals that there are a total of 47 Anesthetics, 35 Medical officers, 16 Physicians and 8 Pediatricians at the hospital. In addition, the hospital has 195 staff nurses, 16 nursing supervisors, 47 pharmacists, 47 anesthesia technicians, 8 X ray technicians, 12 lab technicians and over 200 other staff members. The hospital has 125 ICU beds, including 50 Pediatric ICU beds. It has been designed to cater to the high oxygen demand of the sick Covid 19 cases and each bed is equipped to deliver high-flow oxygen.
While the entire manpower capacity of the hospital meant for 500 beds was allocated to the hospital and was required to be physically present, since June 2021 till August 2021, 62 patients had been admitted at the hospital. As per the last media bulletin issued by J&K government detailing out the bed occupancy in various hospitals of Kashmir, dated September 27, 20 patients were admitted at the hospital.
The RTI activist said the numbers revealed the gross wastage of human resource especially when there was a dire shortage of specialists across the peripheral areas of Kashmir.
“Can we keep the efficient healthcare delivery in abeyance while fearing a Third Wave? In case it strikes, can’t we mobilize these doctors and other staff immediately?” he asked while adding that a transfer order would take less than a day to get issued in case a need arose.
Many doctors, while commenting on the issue, said the scenario was a reflection of the lack of planning and mismanagement by DHSK. “Forget those who have been hired for the DRDO hospital only. We had hundreds of these people required in Directorate hospitals but rural health can wait,” one of them said.
Additional Chief Secretary Health and Medical Education Vivek Bhardwaj said J&K had adequate human resources but there was a need to “review allocations.”
While commenting about the DRDO Hospital manpower, he said the Covid 19 situation and staff deployment would be reviewed soon. “It is very important to see how we are utilizing our doctors, nurse and other staff and we are on it,” he said.