Now Sunday OPD at Central Govt Hospitals in Delhi, resident doctors oppose move
Delhi: Strongly opposing the order issued by Union Health Ministry stating that the Out Patient Department (OPD) services at Center-run hospitals will now be open on Sunday also, resident doctors have submitted a letter to Mansukh Mandaviya threatening to go on a nation-wide strike if the orders are not withdrawn.
A directive was issued on October 7 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in this regard mentioning the OPD timing as 9 AM to 1 PM, while the registration timing from 8 AM to 11.30 AM beginning from October 10.
The order further stated that 1 staff consultant and 3-4 resident doctors should be present. Pharmacy counters are required to be open for the distribution of drugs, along with the availability of lab services for the required patients. The order also added that the facilities should begin with the existing manpower in the hospital.
Further, the Paediatric Medicine, Medicine, Surgery, Gynaecology, Orthopaedics facilities are notified to begin with effect from the morning of 10 October 2021, as per the official order.
Based on the official order, the Safdarjung Hospital has notified the opening of eight departments as a trial on Sunday, comprising the Medicine, Journal Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedics, Eye, ENT, and Urology departments. The facility for providing medicines would be made available at the OPD building of Safdarjung hospital, along with the availability of the necessary investigation in the new emergency block. Safdarjung has already been running a special clinic for the elderly on Sundays.
A circular has been issued at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital too in this regard, with the issuance of opening OPDs of nine departments, which includes, Medicine, Surgery, Obs & Gynac, Orthopedics, Eye, ENT, Pediatrics, Urology, and Pharmacy.
Registrations would also be open at the Lady Hardinge Medical College and related hospitals from 8 am, along with the opening of OPD at the Pediatrics department in Kalavati Sharan Children's Hospital and the OPD of Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology, and Orthopedics Department at Mrs. Sucheta Kripalani Hospital.
However, opposing the move, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA), has released an official letter addressed to Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Health Minister where they have mentioned the problems associated with the opening up of the OPD services on Sunday too.
The letter states that no fresh recruitments took place for beginning the Sunday facilities, and the responsibility would fall on the already overburdened resident doctors, due to which the emergency services would be subsequently hampered.
The letter added that the step taken is in violation of the concept of Triage and wrong on basis of the Supreme Court guidelines as well as on humanitarian grounds. Adding that the government should not harass the already overburdened resident doctors, it states that the government should instead focus on building the grass-root infrastructure of the nation so that healthcare facilities can reach every citizen in need.
The president of FAIMA, Dr Rakesh Bagdi, in a statement said, "Sunday OPD is started in all centre Govt Hospitals. Already overburdened doctors (Working more than 48-72 Hours) now have to come on Sunday too without any extra allowance or off."
Hindustan Times reports that Dr Bagdi further said that resident doctors are already working under a lot of pressure with no time limit. The present step would increase the mental and physical pressure on the doctors, adding that the doctors are giving their service in this time by sacrificing everything.
Dr. Rohan Krishnan, national vice president of the FAIMA told Medical Dialogues, "Overburden resident doctors will have to do sunday OPDs and then emergency services will be hampered. Why fresh recruitments were not done for this work. It is violation of supreme court guidelines of maximum 48 hours of work per week and also wrong on humanitarian grounds that doctors will not get any off 365 days. OPD means Out Patient Department, Non sick patient , Non Emergency patient, so they can wait for a day. It is non scientific and clear cut Violation of the concept of Triage."
Criticizing the government for not working on the essential infrastructure required at the grass-root level, Dr Krishnan added, "Government should focus more on building the grassroot infrastructure of the nation. We lack ICU beds , ventilators, Oxygen plants , good quality surgical equipments , latest machinaries and research grants. Instead of focusing on what is important government is harrasing the resident doctors who are already overburdend. This will not be accepted."
In a video, Dr. Krishnan vehemently criticized and questioned this move of the government, where he said that they reject the order of the government and it is completely shameful that the central government has brought such rules, which have no ideal basis with reality. Raising questions about the government's plan of action, he asked if any fresh recruitment was made by the government before taking this decision to start OPD facilities.
He issued a statement on behalf of the resident doctors saying that they would not accept any such orders of the government, and would go on a nation-wide strike if the orders are not withdrawn.