WITH THE National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to super-specialty courses scheduled for September 15, recruiting specialist doctors, even on a contract basis for Covid care, has become a challenge. For instance, only six specialists sent in online applications as against 204 posts advertised by Pune Zilla Parishad.
Till Thursday afternoon, Pune recorded 1.15 lakh cases and 2,619 deaths. In rural areas, there are 254 deaths and cases touching 10,000. The ZP administration has issued a second advertisement to recruit 1,124 healthcare workers. Till August 16, online applications for 1,124 posts have been invited, out of which 256 are for doctors from Ayurveda Yoga Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), 56 for dentists, 300 for staff nurses, 476 for auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) for a period of three to six months, and another 32 for data entry operators. In the last round, officials said they were able to fill up 410 posts out of 1,489 posts advertised earlier.
The National Board of Examinations has invited applications for NEET SS 2020 since August 2 and specialists have now started taking study leave. With specialist posts not being filled, however, the administration has decided to offer incentives and engage them for Covid care on a call basis.
The effort now is to engage private doctors on a call basis, said Ayush Prasad, CEO of Pune ZP, who also has additional charge of district collector.
“We have engaged the services of 350 doctors so far. The process to empanel doctors from the private sector at hourly wage rates is underway,” Prasad said, adding that the number of cases, however, had stabilised and, at present, there were 1,600 active cases.
Pune ZP officials said 1,000 doctors were already working at primary health centres, community health sub-centres and rural hospitals. Within the next 10 days, a dedicated Covid hospital and two dedicated Covid healthcare centres would come up at each taluka, they added.
They also said almost 50 per cent of the work had been completed at 13 talukas and efforts were underway to tie up with private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.
At the civic body, too, walk-in interviews have commenced since August 4 and, so far, 30 posts have been filled from among 172 vacancies advertised on August 4. Ramchandra Hankare, PMC health chief, however, said they were getting a good response.
No relaxation before festive season, private hospitals to be ready for long haul
Ahead of the 10-day Ganesh festival beginning on August 22, private hospitals are appealing to staff nurses and healthcare staff not to take leave as ICU and isolation wards continue to remain full with Covid-19 patients. “Covid-19 is here to stay and people should be mentally prepared that there is a need to be cautious and not venture out during the festival period of Ganeshotsav, Dussehra and Diwali,” said Dr Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati hospital.
He added, “Already, more than 150 of our healthcare staff, mainly nurses, have been infected and now there are appeals for leave. We have 350 beds dedicated to Covid patients, of which 60 are ICU beds and are full. We are holding daily meetings and boosting their morale. But we have also appealed to our staff to celebrate the festive season online as there is a long battle ahead.”
Dr Lalwani said the sickness level was increasing, and by now an estimated 10 per cent of the population was infected in Pune, and that this trend was to continue till March, when close to 40 per cent will be infected.
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