Himachal curfew forces doctors to trudge for miles to hospitals

Published on Mar 27, 2020 04:41 PM IST

Hospital authorities want government-run buses to pick and drop staff during the lockdown

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SHIMLA: Though healthcare professionals were recently given a heartfelt applause by Indians on March 22, no one in Himachal Pradesh has come to the aid of doctors, paramedics and nurses who do not have vehicle passes for the curfew. Most of them are trudging for miles to hospitals every day, often risking stray dog and monkey attacks.

“I have to walk 8km to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital and back,” says a doctor.

“It’s tough getting back home after late duty hours when we face the threat of attacks by monkeys and stray dogs,” adds another health care professional.

The demand by health authorities in hospitals across the state to run special Himachal Pradesh Roadways buses to ferry staff has gone unheeded. “We too are risking our lives, the government should think about us. Conditions are stressful during the curfew. Not all doctors have passes for private vehicles,” adds another medico in the medicine department living in Mehli. He has to walk 10 km up and down daily to IGMC.

The biggest hospital in the state, IGMC has a bed capacity of 1,100. More than 2,000 medics, paramedics and class III and IV who work there.

The state’s 14,489 health institutes include hospitals, community health centres and ESI departments.

The curfew, meanwhile, has also impacted medical emergency services, including GVK EMRI ambulance providers. Drivers and bike riders say they’re finding it difficult to reach patients on time.

No masks and sanitisers have been provided to the ambulance staff, alleges Puran Chand, president of the contract employees union, adding, “safety kits too have not been given to them.”


    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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