Doctors have pointed out that immediate recruitment of more doctors and healthcare workers is necessary to fight the nationwide crisis. “Medical officers are less in number for COVID duty in government hospitals and recruitment has to be done immediately. We can deliver better healthcare if the number of patients that each doctor has to attend reduces,” said G Vishnu*, a doctor on duty at the COVID ward at RGGGH.
While close to 4,368 beds are available at RGGGH, Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, Stanley Hospital, Omandurar Hospital and Guindy COVID Hospital combined, about 2,377 positive patients occupy these beds while another 1,067 suspected patients are in step-down facilities while just 924 beds are vacant.
“Most patients admitted are in need of ventilator support. We will soon run out of space to accommodate them as the three major hospitals are already overloaded. Private hospitals have to actively participate too rather than referring them to government hospitals,” Vishnu added.
Mental health issues faced by individuals during the pandemic have been talked about, but the doctors at government hospitals are also in need of mental health support which they hardly get, several young doctors pointed out. “We are despondent and have been languishing for more than a year now. There is not even one week’s quarantine after more than two weeks duty at the COVID-19 ward. The hectic duty hours coupled with dealing with trauma has led to depression,” said Dr Rajkumar*, a PG medical student at Stanley Medical College and Hospital. He added that they are already facing a loss of 255 Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship (CRRI) students at Stanley, who could help in medical duty as the next batch is yet to join.
Dr Narayana Babu, Director of Medical Education said that COVID-19 healthcare services are stabilised in the State in terms of manpower required to handle the cases. “We are confident that we will be able to handle the surge,” he added.
(*Doctors’ names changed as per request)