At District Combined Hospital — Ghaziabad's primary Covid-19 facility — there's a severe shortage of medical personnel as many doctors have withdrawn from Covid-19 duty citing age or underlying health conditions.
According to a report in The Times of India, out of the 26 doctors designated at the isolation centre with 100 beds, only 12 are involved in Covid-19 patient care.
The report said that a few doctors had even tapped into bureaucratic connections in order to be shifted to duties where the chance of getting infected with Covid-19 is less. This, as per sources, led to heightened tensions in the hospital with other doctors on Covid duty feeling disgruntled.
Not just this, 10 doctors from other districts were called in and put on Covid duty.
The issue first surfaced after the hospital was designated a level-two Covid facility. Initially, five doctors wrote to authorities seeking exemption from Covid duty citing "serious illnesses," the report said quoting sources. Since then, the list has only gotten bigger.
Sources alleged that some doctors who were placed on Covid-19 duty would refuse to go inside the isolation ward. They would instead monitor the patients' condition by speaking to nurses outside the ward and further prescribe medicines over the phone.
Chief medical superintendent Naresh Vij said that the hospital was facing an acute shortage of doctors and added that those who were taken off Covid duty and given other work were all above 55 years of age.
"We have been continuously putting up a demand for doctors and nurses with the government, but to no avail. We need at least 12 more doctors and an equal number of nurses,” Vij told TOI.
Doctors say that the situation is under control now given that, presently, there are only 32 Covid patients, but they the rue that the condition could deteriorate if there was to be a sudden spike in the number of cases.
“A team of at least 53 health workers, including doctors, nurses and other staff, is required for 100 beds," a doctor was quoted as saying.
Commenting on the issue, chief medical officer Dr NK Gupta told ToI that the health department can step in and provide a few doctors to the hospital if there's a need.