The strike by trainee doctors at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) has expedited the recruitment process for nurses and laboratory technicians.

However, given the patient load, the hospital will continue to face a huge shortage of staff.

Hospital authorities have planned to appoint 25 nurses and 15 laboratory technicians to ensure distribution of the workload. The hospital is expected to foot Rs. 7 to Rs. 8 lakh towards their recruitment.

On Monday, interns at GH issued a press statement about the amount of work they were expected to do. According to their analysis, the students’ satisfaction was much higher when they were working at the Institute of Child Health (ICH) rather than GH.

The students said at GH they had to administer 300 injections in a day while at ICH they work only 50 hours a week and do not give injections.

At GH they work more than 95 hours a week, they complained.

The interns say they don’t have the time to learn more about procedures such as biopsy or assist in surgery. The house surgeons say giving injections, administering IV lines and carrying blood and x-rays, are tasks that should be carried out by paramedical staff.

Senior doctors have taken a lenient view of the protest so far, restricting themselves to pointing out that the interns are not allowed to handle children as they are not skilled enough. Sometime ago, the students were also permitted to discontinue the routine jobs they were performing.

GH dean V. Kanagasabai said as it was a hospital with a high patient load, the workload would be more. “House surgeons are posted in the departments of medicine, surgery, orthopaedics and ENT during their training period. A student will be posted in the medicine department for two months. He would have to attend to 18 days of admission,” he said.

The patient load was high on Mondays but it was on Tuesdays and Wednesdays that a high number of injections are administered. Between Thursday and Saturday, the workload fell and on Sundays, patients are discharged, he explained.

On why trainee nurses and laboratory technicians were not allowed to do the work, Dr. Kanagasabai said, as the medical students had been studying for four and a half years, they were considered more confident and qualified. “A lab technician or a junior nurse is a raw hand. If a technician leaves a needle on the bed and then administers it or leaves the blood samples around carelessly, it could lead to infections in patients. The house surgeons are more responsible and hence expected to do this work,” Dr. Kanagasabai said.

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