Doctors in government hospitals across Delhi have received the mobile phone number and email address of state health minister Satyendra Jain with instructions that they may be directly called by the minister on any matter related to patient care “at any time”. The hospitals have been advised not to miss his call.
The message, sources said, also included contact details of the secretary to the minister, G Sudhakar, with instructions that they could receive calls from his number as well.
Jain told Newsline the move was aimed at “easing the process of contact”.
“If I have to contact somebody for a patient in an emergency, I want to directly reach the doctor, and also make it easier for the doctor to call me back. Rather than go through layers in the decision-making process I want to directly reach the doctor who is treating the patient and get their opinion,”Jain said. He said this will also ensure doctors will be “accountable for the treatment”.
Sources in the health department said medical superintendents of hospitals under the Delhi government were told after a meeting with the minister to pass on the minister’s contact to “every doctor, every consultant of every department”.
“This way, doctors can also approach the minister at any time for any grievances,” a senior health department official said, confirming this initiative.
Jain told Newsline that the health department was also training AAP volunteers to monitor hospital activities. “The health department is training volunteers, and then we plan to divide them into different committees to monitor hospital activities, like cleanliness, patient satisfaction, availability of medicines and investigations, we will complete the process in 2-3 days and then make some announcements,” Jain said.
Hospital authorities confirmed this. “We were also told AAP volunteers will be monitoring hospital activities from next week. We were told that AAP, in their internal surveys, had found that public health was an area where the public was least satisfied with the government, so we have to be on our toes all the time,” the medical superintendent of a central Delhi government hospital said.
Senior health department officials also confirmed that volunteers “in plain clothes” will be monitoring patient treatment. “They will be overseeing hospital activities,and not in any way hinder smooth functioning of the hospitals,” the official explained.
“If any patient is asked to go out of the hospital for investigations or medicines, volunteers will be informing the minister or his office without disturbing hospital activities. They will also see hospitals and toilets in hospitals are kept clean,” the official explained.
In the meeting of hospital authorities convened in the aftermath of strike announcements by resident doctors last week, it was also told that senior consultant doctors in every department who are on call duty in the evenings and nights, have to reach hospitals “within 10 minutes in the event of any dispute”.
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