System to address complaints of late arrival of doctors, staff

Government hospitals in the city are gearing up for the installation of cameras and biometric systems that will record the photographs and thumb impressions of staff when they report to work.

The move was initiated by Health Minister V.S. Vijay at a meeting on August 30, with the heads of institutions and the Director of Medical Education (DME). The meeting followed an incident where an infant born at the Government Kasturba Gandhi Maternity Hospital died 12 days later at the hospital. The family found the baby’s face disfigured, and alleged that a rat had bitten her. The incident caused widespread furore about the conditions prevailing in government hospitals.

While the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital has called for tenders, the Government Kilpauk Hospital will shortly pass a resolution on the issue. A senior doctor at the Government Stanley Hospital said the authorities were awaiting a written direction from the DME. Together, these three hospitals have around 10,000 employees including doctors, assistant professors, nurses, paramedic staff and “last grade workers”.

Each of these hospitals has, besides student hostels, other government institutions affiliated to them as well. Nine institutions, including maternity hospitals and peripheral facilities are attached to them, each with anywhere between 200 to 700 employees, depending on their specialisation.

Cameras will be installed in places like the Dean’s office and the offices of the heads of departments, to register the arrival of doctors, assistant professors and nurses. The cameras will record the time of entry of the staff, including the minutes and seconds and display the details along with the employee’s name, designation and mobile phone number. The cameras can capture around 150 to 200 people in ten minutes. The biometric system, which will record the thumb impressions of the employees, will also follow a similar method.

The aim is to ensure a transparent system of functioning. “Members of the public, who complain that many doctors and nurses are late to work, can verify these records. We know that around 10 per cent of workers may be late for work,” a senior hospital official said.

Meanwhile, the GH has put up notice boards detailing visiting hours. The new rules state that only one visitor will be allowed between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., and 12 and 2 p.m. The visitors must carry a card issued by the hospital. In the evening, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the hospital will allow the entry of visitors without the pass.

Patient attendants will not be allowed to stay in the ward or on the hospital premises. Efforts are on to prevent the attendants from eating in the corridors, said hospital dean V. Kanagasabai.

Funds for the installation of cameras and biometric systems will come from the hospital maintenance fund and the Chief Minister’s comprehensive insurance scheme.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

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