Some of the doctors treating Covid-19 patients in a civic-run hospital in Pune, who have been working continuously for two months, say they desperately need a break from their duties.
At least 12 doctors, who are on deputation to Naidu Hospital, have sent a letter to hospital authorities and marked a copy to the principal secretary, Health Services, Pune Municipal Corporation chief, the district collector and district civil surgeon, among others.
In the letter, the doctors stated, “All the medical officers from the state government are on duty in civic-run Naidu Hospital for past one-and-a-half months to two months. During this period, we have never been quarantined. Besides, all the medical officers are going to their respective homes and then returning for duty. None of the medical officers has been provided accommodation.”
The letter added, “We request you that as per government directives, we should be given rotational duties of 21 days, which should include seven days of quarantine. We should also be provided accommodation facility during duty hours. We have given verbal and written complaints earlier as well. We once again request you to kindly consider our demands sympathetically.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, one of the doctors said,”I have been working at Naidu Hospital since March 20. I was earlier working with a government-run rural hospital. Like me, there are 11 other government doctors with Naidu Hospital. We have all been given Covid-related duties… there are 10-11 PMC doctors with us.”
“All of us are working continuously for close to two months… As per government protocol, we are supposed to work on Covid duties for seven days and then given a seven day break… but at Naidu Hospital, we all are on Covid-related duty continuously for two months. If at all any one of us took a break, it was because of an emergency in their family.”
Another doctor said,”We are also human beings, we also have families to look after. We are supposed to continuously handle OPD, casualty department and admissions. We also need a break…”.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, “The doctors seem to be asking to be relieved from their duties and also seeking accommodation. While we have made arrangements for their accommodation, we have written to the district civil surgeon to relieve the current lot of doctors and provide us a new set of 12 doctors. I have also personally called up the civil surgeon and spoken to him.”
Gaikwad said PMC has to rely heavily on government doctors as it does not have expert doctors. “We want expert doctors to be on Covid duty all the time. The government should provide us the required number of doctors,” he said, adding that this was an emergency situation and any number of doctors would be helpful.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, of the 900 doctors, nurses and other medical staff in civic hospitals, 5 per cent have sought non-Covid duties. “Some have sought non-Covid duties on the grounds that they are physically unfit, some are over 55 years old while others have co-morbid conditions. We have accepted their requests and allotted them non-Covid duties,” said Dr Rajendra Wable, dean of PCMC-run YCM Hospital and Medical College, Pimpri.
Dr Wable said doctors and nurses have been allotted rotational duties. “Seven days of Covid duties, seven days of non-Covid duties and seven days of quarantine. Either they can home-quarantine themselves or we provide them hotel accommodation for quarantine,” he said.
District Civil Surgeon Ashok Nandpurkar said, “As per my information, there are nine government medical officers with PMC Hospital. As far as the question of accommodation for medical officers is concerned, the PMC should take care of it. PMC officials spoke to me and I will have to provide them replacement for the government doctors. If they had told us earlier, we would have done that.”
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