A shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in Kashmir hospitals has resulted in an overburdened staff that has to singlehandedly attend to a number of patients without any respite or leave.
The public health centre established 12 years ago in the border town of Trehgam in Kupwara District some 80 kilometers from Srinagar has a skeleton staff to speak of, a fact overlooked by government authorities..
Though the 25-bed health center can boast of a decent infrastructure with a labour room and labs and the required equipment for treatment, the patients remain in agony due to the staff crunch.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Incharge of the primary health Centre, Dr.Yaqoub Ahmad, said that they have only three doctors on duty and a shortage of staff makes it difficult to treat the patients.
"We are three doctors who come for shift-wise duty. The paramedical staff take night shifts and get an off the next day. We are running the hospital 24/7. We are working overtime almost continuously because there is a shortage of doctors," Ahmed said.
Most of the time patients face a lot of discomfort since they have to travel all the way to Srinagar, 80 kilometers away, for treatment.
An appeal was made by Ahmed for more staff especially a lady doctor so that women patients do not suffer and are timely treated. But the state health department failed to pay heed to the matter.
Dr. Ahmed said that more doctors are required.
"Facilities are fine but staff is less. We have a labour room and labs and the infrastructure is available, but there is no staff. There should be at least 5-10 doctors but we have only one lady doctor. We do not have any gynaecologist who has done a PG in Gynaecology. We have one MBBS working as a lady doctor, how much can she manage? Then we have another male doctor, he is a gynaecologist," said Ahmed.
Residents have strongly demanded at least one gynaecologist so that the women of the area don't suffer. The hospital has an estimated 200-250 patients everyday and functions 24x7.