Lack of doctors in government hospitals in the district has left patient care in disarray, besides increasing the workload of doctors in many departments.

The 783-bed District General Hospital has been the most affected, especially with many specialists retiring. Eleven doctors retired in March and two others retired last month. Even the total number of posts of 72 falls short of the demand. The most affected department is general medicine. The departments of gynaecology, psychiatry and physical medicine have also been hit.

General medicine department that needs six consultants has only two. The strength will soon be reduced to one, with one doctor leaving for higher studies. An additional hand comes in through the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) posting. Of the five consultants in the gynaecology department, three retired at the end of March.

An arrangement has been made for two doctors while the NRHM has provided one more hand.

The NRHM postings are usually made to provide extra hands to meet the demand over and above the normal postings and not to fill vacancies. In Aluva district hospital, all 24 sanctioned posts have been filled but not according to the specialty. There is also a lack of surgeons and general physicians. The Aluva hospital’s elevation from a taluk hospital to a district hospital has not resulted in an increase in the number of doctors. The taluk hospitals in Muvattupuzha and Paravur also face problem of lack of doctors.

President of Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association O. Shyamsunder told The Hindu that 62 doctors had retired in March and some more had followed the next month, but the government had not made any postings so far. Most of those who had retired were specialists and not many specialists had joined the Health Services, he said. Only doctors with MBBS degrees have been posted.

Vacancies must be filled through transfers and promotions, which had always been a difficult exercise in the Health Services, said a medical officer.

It is believed that the final list of transfers will be published online by May 25. These postings should have been published much earlier in anticipation of the retirements, said the medical officer in the district.

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