Other doctors forced to stretch themselves to see patients
With most doctors, including some specialists, away on VIP duty and inspection work allotted by the Medical Council of India (MCI), patients at Victoria and Bowring and Lady Curzon hospitals and students at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) are being put to difficulty.
While five senior doctors, including the Head of the Department of Medicine, and professors from other departments have just returned from MCI inspection duty, nearly 40 doctors, staff nurses and group ‘D' employees are away on VIP duty. On Friday and Saturday, they were busy owing to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's visit, and on Sunday they will be at the National College ground where Kannada Sahitya Parishat elections will be held.
Sources in the Victoria Hospital told The Hindu on Saturday that frequent outstation duties for doctors affect the hospital's functioning. “While patients, who would have come from far-off places, are deprived of specialists' services, students are lagging behind in their [syllabus] portions.”
A doctor said this happens routinely but it has been worse in the last one month.
That is not all. The extra duties burden other doctors at the hospital. “I have been regularly working in day and night shifts besides attending teaching work. Though difficult, I don't want patients to return unattended. At least 400 outpatients visit our department every day. Such outstation duties are only making matters worse as we are short-staffed,” said a senior doctor from Victoria Hospital.
Some students who did not want their names published pointed out that the Head of the Department of Medicine and a few other senior doctors were often away on MCI inspection duty. “We wonder how these are the only ones chosen by the MCI for inspections. Why can't the doctors be posted on a rotation basis so as to not affect the hospitals and the college,” asked an indignant student.
“VIP duty is an unnecessary exercise and we are fed up. Although we have appealed to the authorities several times to set up a separate squad of doctors for VIP duty, teaching doctors are always deputed,” said a doctor.
O.S. Siddappa, Dean and Director of BMCRI, justified the inspection duty of some doctors. “It has been a practice with the MCI to draw senior doctors from various institutions for inspections. How can we question them?” he said.
He said that the problems faced by patients and students had not come to his notice.