Bowring Hospital has closed one OT due to staff shortage

The severe shortage of staff and lack of adequate facilities at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital has not only hit services but also increased the work pressure on the existing staff.

S. Kavita (27), who was asked to get admitted to the Obstetrics & Gynaecology (OBG) ward on Friday, alleged that although she started getting labour pains, the doctors asked her to go to some other hospital as the operation theatre (OT) was occupied. “How can I go at this stage? I have been waiting for more than two hours,” she said.


Hospital sources admitted that shortage of nurses and doctors and the availability of just one emergency OT to attend to all emergencies, including obstetrics and gynaecology cases, were the main reasons for such problems.

The hospital has 10 general OTs and two emergency OTs. However, one emergency OT has been closed because of staff shortage.

“We need a separate OT exclusively for OBG cases. We receive at least five emergency OBG cases apart from 15 other emergencies during night. However, we have just a doctor and a nurse to attend to them. If they get a OT case on hand, it will be difficult for them to handle more. This is because every OBG case needs at least two hours that includes preparing and cleaning the OT,” the sources said.

Although the shortage is a perennial problem, the situation became worse after the 450 stipendiary nurses struck work from January 9 (135 of these nurses are from Bowring). Although they withdrew their strike on January 30, they are yet to be allowed to resume work.

According to sources, the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department has a total of 95 beds with three units. However, it has only eight doctors. Nearly 15 to 20 OBG cases come to the hospital daily and many of them wait for their turn despite being in labour for hours, the sources said.

Moreover, patients visiting the neighbouring Hajee Sir Ismail Sait (HSIS) Gosha Hospital also turn to Bowring Hospital as the HSIS is under renovation.


As a result, the doctors are overburdened and end up referring some patients to Vani Vilas. “Although an alternative can be worked out by deputing some doctors from HSIS Gosha Hospital, there are some technical glitches as the latter facility comes under the Health and Family Welfare Department,” sources said.

Added to this, a severe shortage of anaesthetists is also affecting services. Although the hospital requires at least 20 of these specialists, only 12 are on the rolls.

“We hope such problems will be solved in the coming days with the government proposing to merge the departments of Health and Medical Education,” sources added.