Highlighting that there was “no regular recruitment” of government doctors, the Delhi High Court has directed authorities to provide it with the “ideal patient to doctor ratio”. The court sought the data as it was dissatisfied with the affidavit filed by the Centre, which showed a massive increase in doctors.
The court had taken suo motu cognizance of a spurt in incidents of violence against doctors. Underscoring the twin-pronged problem of violence against doctors and lack of medical facilities for patients, the court had directed the authorities concerned to file a status report.
The Centre had submitted an affidavit, stating that while the number of patients had increased by 1,766 per cent, the number of doctors had expanded by 630 per cent in 2016. “We are unable to figure out… You will say what is the optimal standard as far as patient to doctor ratio is concerned. We are aware how doctors are recruited… Nowhere in the affidavit is it stated that the number of doctors increased in proportion to patients,” the bench said.
It then asked the Centre to submit a “one-page report”, showing increase in patients with regards to each medical department vis-a-vis the departmental increase in doctors.
Meanwhile, Randhir Kumar, counsel for the Federation of Resident Doctor Association, said the immediate solution was to improve existing facilities in hospitals. He said resident doctors were overworked, with some working for up to 30 hours at a stretch. “Imagine 24-hour duty for doctors where they attend patients, do the rounds… Sometimes, they get to sit after waiting for two hours…,” the bench said.
Noting that appointments in AIIMS were undertaken after a gap of 12 years, the bench asked the Centre about the number of entry-level appointments in the last two years. “We know of doctors, employed on contract basis, who stand before hospital superintendents to find out if their extensions had arrived… And these are specialised doctors,” it said, listing the matter on August 22.