New Delhi: With the Delhi government proposing a policy of odd-even cars on alternate days in Delhi, doctors seem to be getting into an additional dilemma. To combat the growing pollution in Delhi, the government has proposed that come 2016, vehicles ending with odd numbers can be driven on one day, while those with even numbers will be driven the subsequent day.
The move, unique for the country, can be seen in various parts of the world including Beijing, whose lessons government aims to replicate in the capital.
While, the decision has been hailed by many environmentalists as an apt response to growing smog in the “Most polluted city of the world”, concerns have been raised by many parties including the police, who say they are not equipped with the manpower to implement the policy, and the residents most of whom have just one car used for commuting to work.
What it means for Healthcare Professionals?
Healthcare professionals like other residents of city will face difficulties in commuting to their respective workplaces, especially medical organisations in areas waiting to get metro and lacking last mile connectivity. Medical professionals, in particular doctors are fearing the brunt of this policy owing to the nature of their work and requirement of timely/emergency presence.
” We have duty hours ranging from 12 hours and going upto even 36 hours. This means one day i am taking my car to the hospital to begin my duty, and when that particular duty ends, i cannot take my car back home. I may have to stop using my vehicle altogether” said a resident doctor working in a prominent Government Hospital.
The plight of taking a car, will not be limited to government doctors and government hospitals alone. Even doctors working in the private hospitals are confused on how they are supposed to work. A senior Cardiologist working in an eminent private hospital iterated,”We rush to the hospital in case of cardiac emergencies regardless of the time of the day or even night. For us time is of key essence. I don’t mind using the public transport at all, but what if, that gets delayed In emergency?”
The decision of the government comes as a desperate move after Delhi High Court reprimanded the government on the issue of Delhi becoming a “GAS Chamber”. In November and early December the city’s air quality slumped to hazardous levels, with levels of PM2.5 pollutants, the very fine particles that get lodged inside the lungs and cause the most damage, soaring to 12 times above WHO’s safety level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
While it is reasonable to expect that medical emergencies and patients travelling to the hospitals will have to be excused from looking at their number plate before going to the hospital, its also important to look at the needs of the healthcare professionals to be able to smoothly move to and fro from their respective workplaces.
“We as doctors agree that growing pollution poses a serious health threat to the residents of the capital. But the government needs to work out the minor details of the proposal before implementation. Its important that they hear the concerns of the medical fraternity, as the decision will have repercussions not just on doctors, but finally on patients as well.” said Pankaj Solanki, President FORDA.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has appointed a high powered committee to work out the details of the said proposal.