The acute shortage of staff, including doctors, nurses and plumbing, has become a curse on the patients admitted to COVID-19 hospitals in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. A similar situation prevails in the private COVID hospitals.
The authorities are unable to cope with the onslaught of patients as they have not been able to deploy the necessary labor in three shifts, which has worsened the nightly situation in the hospitals.
The administrations of the two districts are trying in vain to recruit more doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, ward boys and sanitary personnel. The government is offering £ 24,000 per month for nurses and £ 15,000 per month for other categories of employees who are on a temporary basis. However, due to the reported delay in payment of wages in 2019 and the fear of contracting the virus, not many are interested in joining. Some of those who have joined are quitting due to overwork and working hours in excess of 12, it is said.
“We need to have at least one nurse and one doctor for five patients in non-serious cases and at least one nurse for three patients in intensive care units. Personnel adjustment has become a difficult task. The unavailability of technicians to monitor oxygen supply has become another challenge for the government, “said a senior doctor.
Demands to increase
More doctors and staff will be needed in May as cases are expected to increase in the two districts. Currently 1,480 patients are being treated in 13 COVID hospitals in Srikakulam. Up to 1,062 patients are in COVID care centers where the staff is insufficient. There are currently 4,687 patients in the COVID-19 Hospitals and COVID Care Centers in Vizianagaram.
The director of a private hospital told The Hindu that they were unable to get more doctors and staff as they demanded double pay for working in COVID-19 wards. “We have increased the salaries of the existing employees significantly in order to keep the workforce. Otherwise we cannot ensure proper treatment, especially at night, which is a very important time for patients, ”he added.