Touted as Delhi’s second-best super-speciality hospital by Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, which added a number of facilities on Tuesday, has just around 100 staff against 916 sanctioned posts.
Built at a cost of Rs 153.66 crore, the hospital became operational in 2003. In the latest push, 120 beds have been added to the existing 60, and facilities such as a School of Pulmonology, CT scan, digital radiography and a respiratory endoscopy unit have been introduced.
“After GB Pant hospital, this is the second-best super-speciality hospital in Delhi… and it must be among the top 10 hospitals in the country. With the additional facilities, it will soon be among the country’s top hospitals. We are soon going to fix problems of shortage of staff and the hospital will get 100% autonomy for smooth functioning,” Jain told The Indian Express.
A visit to this hospital and the Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital by The Indian Express last week revealed that while they have world-class infrastructure, there are very few doctors to cater to patient load.
Crisis of manpower
Experts say it is important to improve facilities in super-speciality hospitals to take the burden off other institutes. Former AIIMS director Dr M C Mishra had suggested to the then L-G Najeeb Jung to give Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital to AIIMS and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital to GB Pant to run. “To get a super-specialist for every hospital is not easy. Huge expansion in private sectors is one of the reasons for shortage of staff in the medical sector. With AIIMS having enough human resource, I had suggested giving us one of the hospitals. With our human resource and their infrastructure, health services for patients could have improved tremendously,” Dr Mishra told The Indian Express.
Spread over 13 acres, Rajiv Gandhi hospital has seven blocks housing five OTs and one functional ICU. It also has five functional departments – cardiology, gastroenterology, GI surgery, pulmonology, urology – and a special pain chest clinic. There are 12 faculty doctors, two medical officers, one blood bank officer and around 80-90 resident doctors.
Of the seven blocks, OPD and emergency services are functional in the 6th and 4th block respectively. Other blocks are partly open, with most floors wearing a deserted look. Locked doors, empty passages and vacant rooms — the hospital’s marbled floors don’t see as much footfall as expected.
“Existing medical professionals are taking care of the administrative and clinical functioning. We have been trying our best to offer health services to patients… With the existing strength, I think we are doing well. We are treating 1,000-1,500 patients in the OPD on a regular basis,” said deputy medical superintendent Dr Chhavi Gupta.
Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital, built at Rs 70 crore and inaugurated in 2008, still doesn’t have an emergency ward, OT and ICU.
Built on nine acres of land, the 100-bed hospital is surviving on four departments — cardiology, neurology, nephrology and gastroenterology. It, however, has a few super-speciality clinics, such as for epilepsy and headache. It also started a catheterisation laboratory for cardio problems in 2017.
The departments are managed by six faculty doctors, including the hospital’s medical director.
Sumitra (50), who came to the hospital with chest pain, has been given a date of March 6 for an ECG test. “We visited a cardiologist here, and barely had to wait for a check-up. Doctors are available, but facilities are not well-equipped,” said Vishveshwar Prasad, her husband.
Hospital medical director Dr MM Mehndiratta said: “We treat 1,200-1,500 patients in our OPD on a daily basis. We have one motto: Let’s do less, but quantitatively; and quality will follow. We try to treat every patient that comes to our hospital.”
Delhi government health secretary Sanjeev Khirwar said: “The hiring process for super-specialists in these hospitals is already on. In the next one month, we will be able to complete the overall hiring process.”