The sight of harrowed family members themselves carrying a patient out of the ambulance, fighting for a stretcher and then helping the patient on to the stretcher and wheeling them into the emergency, will soon be a thing of the past.
In a first, the Delhi government has introduced posts for “stretcher bearers” in its hospitals. They will have the sole responsibility of taking care of immobile patients.
The Health department has got a nod from the Department of Administrative Reform (AR) of the Delhi government to introduce these posts “urgently” in its hospitals under the category of Class IV staff. Recruitments have already begun for the posts.
Until the process is complete, nursing orderlies in nodal hospitals such as LN, GTB, DDU and GB Pant hospitals have been assigned the job.
Sources said during the tenure of the AAP government, suggestions were invited from patients on problems they encountered in hospitals.
Besides the problem of overcrowding and long queues, many patients had complained about the lack of “designated” people to help stretcher-bound patients. Sources said many complaints were received from patients in the emergency.
“Patients who came with fractures, even skull fractures, had to be wheeled inside by family members. In many cases, kin of patients said they had to fight for stretchers,” an official said.
He said many senior citizens had also complained of the problem. “An old woman said she had to depend on security guards to help her with her husband’s stretcher and that it was extremely difficult for her to keep her husband steady on the stretcher,” the official said.
Officials said such complaints made them realise that a basic need was going unheeded in hospitals. “We did have posts of nursing orderlies in wards and operation theatres. But in outpatient departments and from the hospital gate to the emergency, there was nobody to help patients,” the official said.
He said feedback was sought from hospital authorities for clarity on who was responsible for this job. “We were told that nursing orderlies have a lot of different jobs. Security personnel said they could not leave their posts to help patients. So several medical superintendents said there were spats about who was responsible and no one ended up doing the job,” he said.
Sources said after consulting experts, it was agreed that there was a need for specially trained staff for the job, particularly for critical patients. “Once recruited, the staff would be trained by emergency medical personnel on necessary precautions and emergency care,” he said.