COVID-19 pandemic

Without PPE kits, health staff in Amritsar hesitate to go near patients

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 4

Senior officials hesitate to go near Covid patients due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), which has resulted in poor medical services, said the staff at government medical college here.

They said it was demoralising for junior doctors and other paramedical staff.

Despite announcements by the state government and the local MP to issue funds for providing masks, sanitisers and PPE kits, the medical staff has been facing a shortage of protective gear.

On Friday, nurses and other paramedical staff staged a protest to highlight the issue. “We are being told that except for doctors, no other employee needs masks and PPE kits in the isolation ward. This is discrimination as nurses have to give medicines to patients. Besides, they also serve them food,” a nurse said.

Another nurse said, “Food for patients comes from the hospital kitchen. But, they never provide any utensils. They send packets of milk, which has to be boiled and served in glasses. We have been getting Rs9,000 per month for the past 12 years. We have been spending from our pockets to buy disposable utensils.” She asked why doctors could not provide masks and kits to the employees who were treating patients.

The medical employees also complained that while the regular staff were reluctant to go near patients, the contractual staff members were forced to take care of patients without providing proper gear. Meanwhile, members of the Jago Punjab Organisation distributed masks and sanitisers among nurses on Saturday.

At a meeting, Cabinet Minister Om Parkash Soni asked the medical college Principal, Medical Superintendent and senior officials to lead the fight against coronavirus, so that junior employees feel motivated. Soni asked the Principal to call senior doctors and instruct them to visit wards. “If we run away now, we will lose the fight,” he said.

‘Hospitals face shortage of equipment’

Tarn Taran: Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal, former state president of the PCMS Specialist Doctors’ Association and in-charge Aam Aadmi Party, in a press note issued here on Saturday, said that the doctors treating coronavirus patients were short of protective equipment. Dr Sohal said it was a matter of great concern that shortage of personal protective equipment was one of the key reasons that had led to doctors and healthcare workers getting infected in some places. He alleged that there was a shortage of ventilators and ICU beds in the state and the staff was forced to knock the door of courts for the required facilities according to the World Health Organisation norms. — OC

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