Meghalaya to look into 'high' referral rates of patients at govt hospitals

Shillong: Concerned about the high referral rates at government hospitals to higher healthcare facilities, the Meghalaya government announced its decision to investigate the underlying causes and its plans to address the issue.

This decision was made following a review meeting attended by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma and health minister Ampareen Lyngdoh. The meeting held on Monday reviewed and evaluated the performances of Civil hospitals and district hospitals across the state of Meghalaya. Several other issues related to the health department was discussed.

Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, said that the government will find out why referral of patients is a common practice in all of the government hospitals and why is it that the patients ask for referral against medical advice in most situations.

“We are going to try and see whether or not the government can hand hold the health department, to ensure that we are able to provide the basic of all basic amenities to our citizens, wherever they are located without pressurizing patients to move out of their own areas, own homes and to travel distances for their medical treatments,” said Lyngdoh.

The health minister said that this was one of the top priorities of the government. She further mentioned that they had reviewed the performance, requirements of infrastructure and also the indexes for evaluation of performance and it was agreed that amongst the most critical requirements in all of these hospitals was the HR.

“The chief minister is now informed about the shortfall of nurses, paramedical staff, specialists and medical doctors. This evaluation was done with the purpose to ensure that we are able to track the performance of all of our hospitals and we will wait for another interaction with the chief minister to see what the other areas are and what are the financial inputs that government will be taking to ensure that our health system improves substantially. We are giving ourselves about 24 to 36 months and we will evaluate the performance accordingly,” informed the health minister.

The government also realised that it was important to incentivise services of health personnel across the state of Meghalaya. This was found necessary after seeing that health personnel always shows resistance when they have to go to far-flung places. To fix this problem, the government is mulling a policy to ensure that health personnel are allotted difficult posting. 

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“Everyone in the health system, should not, for example take recluse to the fact that we do not have provisions for housing of the health personnel whenever they’re posted out. We’ve evaluated the scales of pay of all health personnel and we’ve seen that there are provisions for acquiring of housing facility for doctors, housing for facilities for nurses,” said Lyngdoh.

The government will soon hold another review meeting at the Shillong civil hospital to discuss strategies for regaining public confidence in the state’s healthcare system.

Also Read | Meghalaya committed to promoting local languages: CM Sangma

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