De-addiction centre faces staff shortage

  • Vandana Singh, Hindustan Times, LUDHIANA
  • Updated: Dec 16, 2014 15:34 IST

The seriousness of the Punjab government to deal with the problem of drug menace could be adjudged from their seriousness in appointing psychiatrists at de-addiction centres.

The government has opened some de-addiction centres and promised many more in the district, but these centres are not serving the purpose due to lack of adequate number of specialists.

A visit to the de-addiction centre at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital on Monday revealed that there was only one psychiatrist who looks after the de-addiction centre and OPD of the hospital. Not only this, the same psychiatrist also takes care of Red Cross de-addiction centre. Besides, she also has to do jail duty.

Long queues of patients can be seen at the hospital. The patients were left in lurch on Monday as the solitary psychiatrist was on leave due to the surgery of her son. The only counsellor at the centre Harjinder Kaur handled the patients.

The patients alleged that they hardly found any doctor in the centre as she remained busy with other works. They had come from distant places and faced inconvenience due to lack of staff, they said.

A woman on the condition of anonymity said: “I have to come after every five days to get medicines for my husband. The medicine should be provided on priority basis as waiting for five to six hours at the centre is not an easy task.”

Dr Sudha Vasudev, psychiatrist at the de-addiction centre of Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, said: “I was on leave on Monday for the surgery of my son. It becomes difficult for me to handle two de-addiction centres at the same time. Apart from this, I have to look after the OPD of the hospital and have to do jail duty. The government should appoint more psychiatrists at de-addiction centres.”

Need for more psychiatrists, beds

Currently, the district has three de-addiction centres at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital (10 bed), Red Cross (12 beds) and Jagraon Civil Hospital (10 beds). Work on one more de-addiction centre is in progress at Samrala (10 beds). The three centres have only two psychiatrists.

Dr Jasveer Singh, deputy medical commissioner, Ludhiana, said: “We are trying to get more psychiatrists at de-addiction centres. The de-addiction society of the district had recently appointed staff nurses, wards and security official.”

Avtar Singh, a patient from Tajpur Road said: “I came to the hospital at 9 am, but couldn’t meet the doctor till 1 pm. The wait seems long in absence of medicines.”Dhamman Singh, another patient who came from Sekhewal, said: “The government should appoint a permanent doctor at the hospital as we have to come from far-flung areas.”

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