Two doctors attend to nearly 500 outpatients, 15 inpatients daily

Doctors and staff shortage haunts the taluk headquarters hospital at Sendurai, about 25 km from here. Official sources admitted “though we want to render 24-hour service, it is just not possible because of the lack of manpower.”

Sendurai hospital has 30 beds and serves a population of about 10,000 in the town and 30 surrounding villages. It has machinery such as x-ray and necessary equipment for dental treatment. But neither is there an x-ray technician nor a dentist.

“Though it would be ideal to have six doctors for such a hospital which gets 500 outpatients and 10-15 inpatients a day, we never had the luxury of having more than three doctors at a time. The erstwhile primary health centre had a sanctioned doctor strength of three but has not been concomitantly increased with its upgrade as a taluk headquarters hospital. More often than not there has been only one doctor in the hospital and till recently we had only two doctors. ”

During 2009 and most of the 2010, only one doctor had to take care of the entire hospital, they lamented. Though there were three doctors by the end of 2010, one has gone on deputation. “Once again it is only two who have to bear the brunt, including administrative duties.” The sources also asserted that both the doctors are available on call any time of the day as both stay put at Sendurai.

They dismissed the complaint of the public that there is no doctor to attend to the patients even during the outpatient hours of 3 p.m-5 p.m. “The doctors stay up to 5 p.m. and attend to emergencies such as maternity cases whenever the staff nurses call up,” they asserted.

But when told that many maternity patients avoid the hospital beyond afternoon because of the absence of doctors, the sources contended that there are as many as nine PHCs in the district that patients might opt for because of their proximity. However the public allege that not a single doctor attends to delivery cases in the evening and night and it is the staff nurses who are forced to attend to the patients though they are only expected to assist in delivery.

Similarly, the post of dentist, a must for any hospital, is vacant since 2009.The previous dentist went on deputation to Ariyalur and then got transferred, the sources said. While there should be one sanitary worker for six beds, the hospital has only two as on date. Even among them, one has been on leave for some time . “A number of sanitary workers are likely to be posted soon all over the State on contractual basis which will improve the situation,” the sources said.

However, they were happy to point that the hospital has adequate number of staff nurses. Asked whether the higher authorities are aware of the situation, the sources said that representations have already been sent.