Amid escalating Covid cases in Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Monday sanctioned 300 ad hoc posts for three state-run medical colleges at Patiala, Faridkot and Amritsar to handle critical coronavirus patients. He also directed to expedite the recruitment of medical and technical staff against all vacant and sanctioned posts.
The move came after Dr KK Talwar, the state government’s health adviser and former PGIMER director, said 100 staff members, mainly senior resident doctors and assistant professors, were required by the Medical Education Department in each of the colleges on an urgent basis to handle the patients.
Responding to Talwar’s submission, the CM immediately sanctioned 300 posts, directing the department to make ad hoc appointments by hiring graduating students as senior residents. These appointments can be subject to their clearance of exams later, he suggested, adding that for assistant professors, walk-in selections can be considered to overcome immediate shortfall.
Amarinder issued the directives during a video conference meeting to review the Covid situation in the state.
Stating that approval has already been given to the health department to fill 6,000 vacancies, Amarinder asked to expedite recruitment at all levels, including doctors, anaesthetists, nurses, lab technicians and ward boys.
Earlier, in his presentation, Talwar said the government medical colleges and district hospitals with Level-III facilities needed to be quickly filled up with senior residents/junior faculty in anaesthesia/medicine/any required discipline for Covid-19.
He also suggested short exposure of all junior faculty in Covid ICU in PGI or AIIMS for hands-on experience, which the Chief Minister accepted. The CM also accepted the suggestion that one faculty member from anaesthesia/critical care units should be on round-the-clock duty to give the best possible care to sick patients in ICUs.
With the pandemic peaking in the state and projections grim for coming weeks, the CM also directed departments to ensure that samples of symptomatic cases are taken on priority and tests reports are submitted within 12 hours.
Pointing out that any delay could prove costly in positive cases, he urged people to dial 104 at the first sign of symptoms or concern.
Expressing concern over reports of rising mortality due to the “delay in many cases”, the CM asked the health department to take all steps to spread awareness among people on the need for timely intervention.
He also directed the health department to engage closely with the private hospitals to bring them on board the state’s Covid fight more actively.
Amarinder was informed that as per an assessment of the Department of Medical Education and Research, 92 private hospitals have already agreed to provide Covid care facility.
The meeting also discussed strengthening the mechanism for controlling the pandemic in the state’s 19 micro-containment areas. Most of the micro-containment areas are currently in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Ropar districts, with the first three contributing the maximum to the state’s viral load.
The CM asked the department to go in for aggressive testing, exhaustive contact tracing, treatment and active surveillance in the micro-containment areas.
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