RGICD invited applications twice, which evoked no response

Here is one place where there are jobs but no takers. The State-run Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) has 21 vacancies for specialist doctors. Though advertisements were given on two occasions, there has been no reply.

Patients are feeling the immediate impact. With just nine doctors at work, queues have become longer and there is no respite for doctors or patients.

The average daily patient flow of 100 in the out-patient department has increased nearly threefold in the last two months, especially in the wake of the spread of Influenza A(H1N1).

No takers

Although the hospital authorities had invited applications for the posts of thoracic surgeons and pulmonologists twice, there have been no takers. “We have again invited applications to fill up the vacancies. We hope to get a positive response at least this time,” RGICD Director Shashidhar Buggi told The Hindu here.

He admitted that the shortage had affected services in the hospital. “We have two thoracic surgeons, three pulmonologists, four non-teaching assistant surgeons and two anaesthetists. This has been the case for the last four years and it was with great difficulty that we had managed to deal with the heavy patient flow in 2009 when the outbreak of A(H1N1) had created panic across the country,” Dr. Buggi said.

The 470-bed teaching hospital is a state referral centre for patients of chest and lung diseases, apart from tuberculosis. “With most of the patients coming to our institution from the lower strata of society, they usually ignore early symptoms and come here when the disease is in an advanced stage. This results in a tedious evaluation and treatment process, followed by prolonged hospital stay,” he said.

Dr. Buggi said although he had requested the Department of Health and Family Welfare to depute doctors to the hospital, there has been no response.

“After our hospital became an autonomous institution in 2009, we were expected to appoint staff. But we are helpless as there are no takers for thoracic surgery probably because it is not as lucrative as cardiac surgery,” he said.

While cardiac surgery involves treatment of heart diseases, thoracic surgery involves everything related to the chest and lungs except the heart, he explained.

On contract

He said that he had contracted nine retired doctors for one year to tide over the crisis. “We are supposed to have eight thoracic surgeons, eight pulmonologists, 14 non-teaching assistant surgeons and 10 resident doctors apart from two anaesthetists,” Dr. Buggi explained.

Sources in the Health Department said that there is an acute shortage of chest physicians and thoracic surgeons in the country. This is because there are very few institutions that run postgraduation and super-speciality courses on these subjects.