Bongaigaon Civil Hospital is the largest government hospital in the district and has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. But it seems that despite doing so much for the public, the hospital is not getting the attention it deserves. In fact, it has fought the second wave of pandemic without even a medical superintendent.
The hospital has no option but to operate with bare minimum doctors and medical officers. The hospital is facing a serious shortage of medical staff. According to a highly-placed source, currently, only 16 doctors are working full-time in the hospital. They are maintaining two set-ups: general emergency and COVID emergency.
“Doctors don’t want to join Bongaigaon Civil Hospital as they have got better options. If they are getting a chance in a place like Guwahati, why will they come to Bongaigaon? Some of the medical officers have applied for voluntary clearance and have left the hospital, leaving the entire hospital and the remaining staff in complete chaos and distress,” said the source.
Rotatory internships are provided to every post PG and post MBBS student as a part of their degree. “These interns/students cannot be given independent hospital-related work as they are still learning. But due to a lack of proper permanent staff, the interns fill the posts for a temporary period. This has resulted in a quality demise of our hospital. The hospital doesn’t even have a permanent pathologist. A PG student, who completed the internship has been posted for the pathologist post and is serving us,” the source added.
According to the source, on July 17, 2021, the PG students will finish their tenure, and the hospital is tense about the management of laboratories and blood banks without a proper pathologist. “Various nursing homes and clinics are being operated by various doctors who are not qualified. Only the title of Doctor in front of the name doesn’t signify anything. Even the students who have passed from private medical colleges are being scouted for the government hospitals,” the source said.
The hospital has somehow managed the entire second wave of pandemic without any superintendent. The post has been vacant since April 2020 but no progress has been made yet. Similarly, the posts of hospital administrator, matron, and assistant matron are also vacant. “No one wants to take a permanent post here. Only temporary staff members join, and when their tenure is over, they leave. The staff is facing extreme stress, and even the contractual staff are forced to work overtime.
One can imagine if, for 24*7, one single person has to do work meant for 2-3 people. When one works under pressure, their ability to work smoothly decreases”, said the source.
PORISKAR, an NGO assigned to cleaning the hospitals, does not perform any tasks they are supposed to be doing. “The ICU set-up will soon be free for use, but without the required staff, how will the hospital handle everything?” the source asked.
Despite repeated attempts, senior state health officials were either unavailable or unwilling to talk on record. One senior official from the state health and family welfare department, who did speak to EastMojo, did so on the condition of anonymity. The official acknowledged the scarcity of medical staff all across Assam. “I do not specifically know about the Bongaigaon Civil Hospital. There are promotions going on. Hopefully, the superintendent posts will fill up soon. During COVID, we appointed 61 doctors all over Assam. We have put up advertisements for 400 posts of medical & health officers. The scarcity, to an extent, is due to the MBBS students pursuing higher studies and not work,” the official added.
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