Municipal corporation (MC) dispensaries continue to be plagued by staff shortage.
Reflecting the poor state of affairs, there are only two doctors available for six dispensaries under the MC across the city. These too have been provided by the district health department, that itself is reeling under staff crunch.
Despite the shortage, the MC has failed to recruit new doctors for the past few years.
People who belong to economically weaker sections frequent these dispensaries, but majority of them are forced to return or opt for private doctors, in absence of doctors or whenever the two doctors go on leave.
This burns a hole in the pockets of patients, as private doctors charge higher fees compared to the ‘parchee fee’ of Rs 2, charged by these dispensaries.
Rajesh, a rickshaw-puller, said, “Since I cannot afford to visit private clinics and the civil hospital is also far from my home, I visit the nearest dispensary. The government should upgrade such dispensaries so that primary healthcare can be available at an affordable price.”
Besides, the laboratory and pharmacy wings are facing staff shortage as well.
Only Class-4 employees are available in some dispensaries when a doctor is at a meeting or attending to an emergency. Lack of information regarding dispensary timings and availability of doctors is also a major concern.
On visiting a dispensary, one of the staff members, on terms of anonymity, said it was patients who suffered whenever a doctor went from one dispensary to another to perform his or her duties.
According to sources, the MC is unable to hire doctors due to shortage of funds.
Apart from the two doctors who are deployed at the dispensaries, the MC has two other medical officers who are deployed for solid waste management and sanitation.
Amarjit Singh Sekhon, chief of health wing, MC, said, “In the coming finance and contract committee meeting, we will put forward an appeal to recruit doctors on a contractual basis. We have four doctors, two of whom are deployed with the dispensaries, while the other two look into solid waste management and sanitation-related work.”