Even as the government acknowledges scarcity of specialist doctors in government hospitals, their postings in relatively low-priority dispensaries raises questions over the intentions of the authorities.
This ‘mismatch’ is common in most government-run health institutions as at a few places there are less doctors then the required posts while some places have more than the sanctioned posts.
This has been underlined after the death of two newborns and three stillbirths in a day at the Mother Child Hospital attached to Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital.
Two gynaecologists were posted at the hospital from dispensaries only after the incident, raising the question as to why these specialists were posted in dispensaries in the first place even as there was a shortage at the civil hospital.
When asked about it, Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, health and family welfare, said, “As per the norms of the health department, we don’t post specialist doctors in dispensaries. Administrative posts like senior medical officer and civil surgeon get specialist doctors as these are promotional posts.”
However, the gynaecologists’ case is not an isolated one. There are other dispensaries in the Ludhiana where specialists are posted. An eye surgeon is posted at the government dispensary of Chet Singh Nagar and an anaesthesia expert at the one in Sarabha Nagar.
The posting of specialists on administrative posts, like programme officer, other than SMO and above, also raises questions.
The other side of this mismatch is that Lord Mahavira Civil hospital also has some wings in which more doctors then required are working; for instance, ENT and surgery. Posts have not been rationalised from long as many community health centres in Ludhiana too are sans specialists from long.