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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Shortage of nursing staff, attendants a challenge: PGIMER director

Addressing PGIMER’s perennial problem of an excess of patients, the director said there will be some relief with the opening of the 250-bed Nehru Block extension.

Written by Chahat Rana | Chandigarh | Published: January 29, 2020 2:12:44 pm
pgimer nurse shortage, nurse shoratge chandigarh hospital, chandigarh hospitals, chandigarh news, indian express PGIMER Director Dr. Jagat Ram. (File Photo)

“There is a lot that we are proud of achieving here at PGI, but there is still a lot more to do, the biggest challenge now is ensuring more vacancies for nursing staff and attendants as the institute grows,” Jagat Ram, director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) told Newsline in an interview.

The director highlighted the developmental work overseen by him since he joined in 2017, along with the challenges faced by the institute.

Addressing PGIMER’s perennial problem of an excess of patients, the director said there will be some relief with the opening of the 250-bed Nehru Block extension. “The extension, which has 250 beds, 334 if we count the private rooms as well, is complete now. It will house four departments in total — hepatology, radiotherapy, endocrinology and the ENT,” said Ram. The ENT and radiotherapy departments have already shifted to the extension block, and the other two will soon shift to the block as well.

Apart from the extension block, which is partially operative, PGIMER has also acquired land for setting up services in Sarangpur area of Chandigarh. “The 50 acres acquired there were first being provided to us at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore from the UT administration but we were able to reduce it to Rs 180 crore,” claimed Ram. The Sarangpur extension of the hospital will have a new OPD department, a trauma center, a cancer center as well as a learning resource center.

Also Read: Nurses say Chandigarh govt hospital short-staffed, patients not getting individual care

Setting up of the Sarangpur division is part of a broader plan to decrease the burden of patients seeking primary and secondary care at PGIMER’s main campus. Currently, more than 9000 patients visit the OPD of PGIMER regularly, each patient typically attended and accompanied by two more people, taking the strength of the crowd visiting the OPD buildings to about 30,000 every day. “Once the Sarangpur extension is built, all the first screenings of patients will occur there, and only referred patients will ideally be treated at PGIMER by our specialists,” said the director.

Apart from the OPD center, Ram said he hopes that the training center at the institute will allow medical professionals from neighboring states to equip themselves with the technical know-how and resources to provide sufficient primary and secondary care to patients in the state. “We get most of our patients from neighboring states such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and even Jammu and Kashmir. We are ready to help equip medical professionals from these states so as to strengthen their capacity for providing adequate treatment to all patients in the region,” he added.

Though the hospital opened up 176 posts for faculty, which were advertised in December of 2019, PGIMER remains unequipped due to inadequate nursing staff and attendants. “With the extension of the institute, we also need to work towards extending our staff strength. Though we have a good number of doctors, our biggest challenge is to recruit nursing staff and attendants, but we need the government’s nod to open up vacancies. So we hope to work towards that,” said Ram.

Furthermore, the institute has to tackle the issue of accommodating staff on campus, for as of now it does not have enough space to accommodate even the current staff strength. “We need to create more space for housing our faculty and staff, currently we give rent allowance to those who we cannot accommodate on campus, but we strive to provide more space for our employees on the campus itself or elsewhere,” he said.

Sources said PGIMER is in conversation with the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), hoping to acquire two buildings for its employees from
CHB’s project for constructing high rise buildings for government officials.

“We also are working towards creating more parking space. But all of this is work in progress,” the director said.

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