The move follows circular from the Health Secretary

After the recent protest by Compulsory Rotatory Residential Interns (house surgeons) demanding improvement to their work profile and the subsequent circular from the Health Secretary to make necessary changes, the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) has begun reallocating most of the work given to them to staff nurses, laboratory technicians and post-graduate medical students.

Senior doctors at the hospital said on Thursday that the house surgeons were now largely observing treatment procedures, rather than being physically involved in these.

The hospital is also banking on new equipment to simplify certain medical procedures so that even laboratory technicians could perform these, such as drawing blood samples. And, some works have gone online to reduce dependence on manual work. Following State-wide protests by house surgeons, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan on July 31 directed all government medical colleges and hospitals to expose house surgeons more to clinical work than routine activities.

Dean R. Vimala told The Hindu that from Thursday, laboratory technicians have begun to collect blood samples through disposable non-vacu blood collection tubes, which are simple to use, under doctors’ supervision. Earlier, blood samples were collected in reusable tubes by house surgeons who complained that they were made to wash these tubes.

Works such as administering injections and intravenous (IV) fluids have been switched over to staff nurses and postgraduate medical students.

The hospital was also contemplating taking online the procedure for placing indents for drugs. The pharmacy had already been computerised, she added.

Dr. Vimala said: “All the works done by house surgeons have been reorganised without over-burdening anyone. The CMCH administration has taken utmost care to ensure the patients’ interests were not harmed.”

Meanwhile, there is resentment among many senior doctors who complain that house surgeons have become non-cooperative.

Even though Dr. Radhakrishnan had said that house surgeons should not be used for routine work, he had also said that on no account should patients be made to suffer and should be given the best treatment.

However, senior doctors said that house surgeons were not stepping in even during emergency procedures and in one such instance, a house surgeon refused to administer adrenaline at the Intensive Medical Care Unit to a patient who was in a critical condition. Further, they were also not coordinating the requirements of blood from various departments with the blood bank.

Despite several calls and SMSes made to them by The Hindu on Thursday to seek their reaction to the charges, the officer-bearers of Compulsory Rotatory Residential Interns Association, Coimbatore Chapter, did not respond.

When contacted, A.K. Abinesh, president of the Compulsory Rotatory Residential Interns Association, Coimbatore chapter, said that the initial confusion after the Health Secretary’s circular had now been clarified and most of the house surgeons’ work had been reallocated in CMCH.