One of the oldest Government health institutions in the district, the 75-year-old Pollachi Government Hospital has undergone a paradigm shift over the years. From being a Taluk hospital with 144 beds in 1975, it now has been upgraded to a District Head Quarters hospital having 191 beds. Among the recent additions include an Intensive Care Unit, Post Operative Ward, Neo-Natal Ward and a ward for Ophthalmology ailments besides a special ward for the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme.

In addition to this is the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) centre, which renders emergency obstetric and neonatal care services to bring down the maternal and infant mortality rate. All of these have come up in the last decade. While the physical infrastructure has been impressively developed, the appointment of personnel, particularly staff nurses, has not kept apace, the hospital staff say. The sanctioned staff nurses strength for the Pollachi GH was 26, a figure that has remained unchanged since 1976, according to hospital sources. A District Headquarters hospital, according to Health Department norms, should be 72. From just two caesarean deliveries every week, says a senior staff, the GH was now performing between five and six every day.

In addition to their hospital duties, the staff nurses must also attend to the blood bank, conduct blood donation camps and family planning camps also. The ratio of nurses to patients should 1:20 for outpatients and 1:5 for inpatients. The number of outpatients has exponentially risen from around 300 per day in 1976 to around 1,400 at present. All of this results in staff nurses working several hours beyond their shift timings. “Even after the Pollachi GH was upgraded from a Taluk Headquarters to a District Headquarters Hospital a few years back, the sanctioned staff nurses strength was not increased,” says another hospital staff. When contacted, G. Elangovan, Joint Director of Health and Medical Services, told The Hindu that this issue had been raised with top officials several times during the monthly review meeting convened at Chennai.

“There is a proposal to outsource some of the works at major Government Hospitals. This is likely to be implemented in a month or two,” he adds.