From decongesting PGI to strengthening the institute with new centres and faculty members, on the 53rd Foundation Day, Dr Y K Chawla, the PGIMER director, shares with Chandigarh Newsline the plans he has for the institute to make it more patient-friendly.
On the 53rd Foundation Day of PGI, what are the new things which the institute is planning to accomplish in the near future?
What we are looking forward is making full utilisation of the space that is available in PGI. We almost have our master plan approved by the UT Administration, in which our first priority would be to build houses for the staff, increase the number of hostels for their residence and faculty houses. How many we would be able to build will depend upon the money sanctioned but this is the number 1 priority for us. [Next] we are coming up with a mother and child care centre next to paediatrics and then we have the neurosciences centres.
Do you have enough space?
Yes, we have. The area near Gol market will be occupied by the mother centre, and neuroscience centre will be close to the workshop. We will demolish the workshop.
What is the amount?
For mother centre, we are looking for Rs 250 crore; for neuroscience centre, we would need around Rs 300 crore. For houses, we already have some amount of money and will ask for more [from the Union Health Ministry].
The number of houses that you are planning to construct?
For faculty, we are planning to construct about 300 or so, that depends on the funds too. For the hostels also, I think it would be about 1,000 rooms.
What about the new satellite centres?
One satellite centre is already being made at Sangrur. We will start OPDs after a couple of months. It will not be an in-patient thing; we will be purely OPDs to start with. Then there will be some residential accommodation for doctors who will help us there.
Doctors from PGI will go there. There might be some recruitments, we have not yet sanctioned specially for Sangrur, but it is likely to happen soon.
The plan to set up a satellite centre in Ferozepur is also there, but the initial nitty-gritty is yet to be sorted out. Land has not been allotted to us, yet.
What are patient-friendly techniques you are planning to introduce in order to manage the rush in a better way?
See, we want to strengthen the computerisation of the institute. We are also keen to introduce PACS [Picture Archiving and Communications System]. In PACS, X-ray is conducted through the network, [with] the password that the patient has, [s/he] would be able to see the X-ray immediately. So the patient does not have to go and get the report. All doctors will have computer installed in their rooms in the OPD and they can see the X-rays. Patients can get it on their smart phones as well.
When are you planning to start the facility?
We have done the initial work on the system but it turned out to be very expensive. So we have to see now how to economise it. It is costing us about Rs 70-80 crore.
What about the air-conditioning of PGI?
We have hired a consultant who is an expert in air conditioning. The biggest hassle is that air-conditioning would mean dismantling the entire hospital, there will be false ceiling and ducting work. It is possible. What we are trying to do is to have this work done after 2 pm. Because during daytime there are patients. So we thought that in the tender, we will say that work should be done after 2 pm.
Last summer we could not do it, but we have the will to do it. But we have to look at the ways it can be done. We even thought of having two shifts from 2 pm to 10 pm and 10 pm to 6 am. But the system of working during night is not there in India. Right now, we are planning the modalities, but it would start soon. But this summer they will have to bear it.
Other patient-friendly initiatives?
The other thing is to improve the cleanliness of the hospital, we are trying to adopt different schemes, which we need to discuss, it will will bring down the infection. What we are doing is that we are cleaning the ducts of the air conditioners, all the ICU air-conditioning is being done.
To decongest PGI, we are trying to evolve methods, study different hospitals and see how it can be better managed. We think we should have screening OPDs, only difficult cases which are not manageable should come to the institute. The screening OPDs could be in Sector 52, where we have been given some land or it could be in Sarangpur or close by.
Doctors from PGI will be there, we might even get some general duty medical officers.
How serious are you about the screening OPDs?
We are quite serious about the issue, but in the agenda it might be on the second or third place. The main agenda is houses for faculty to satisfy the current lot.
The completion of the 250-bed hospital will take another year for completion. The delay is because we want to make it ultra modern.
Moving towards research, there is common complaint that doctors do not get time to do research and institute is not doing that great when it comes to research.
In research, we are going to recognise the faculty and students who get their works published in good journals. So we have to still develop the guidelines. And we reward them by giving them big research grant in case they publish in good journal (impact factor of more than 5 to 10). But we have to still develop the guidelines.
Recently, many instances of plagiarism have come to light. What action is PGI taking against those who are involved in it and to check such incidents in the future?
Plagiarism is catching up with all the researchers and we plan to discuss amongst ourselves and make it compulsory that before anything gets published from the institute, it should go through that anti-plagiarism software.
We are likely to make it compulsory. Currently, students or faculty members inform the local departmental committee. Most of the department people do not take it through the
anti-plagiarism software, although it has been there in the institute for the last two years. We have been requesting and asking the students that they should go through it, but we had not made it compulsory till now. We think we will make it compulsory.
To deal with the shortage of faculty members, are you not planning to conduct interviews?
Yes, we are going to start interviews from mid-August. Hopefully by September-end, we could finish the interviews and come up with results in October. Currently we have around 400 faculty members and we will be adding another 100 faculty members and most of them will be assistant professors.