Open house: shouldn’t the govt focus on existing infra, staff crunch before announcing new med colleges? : The Tribune India

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Open house: shouldn’t the govt focus on existing infra, staff crunch before announcing new med colleges?

Govt should focus on quality over quantity of services

Open house: shouldn’t the govt focus on existing infra, staff crunch before announcing new med colleges?

A view of the Jalandhar Civil Hospital that offers state-of-the-art facilities to patients of the city and surrounding areas. File ph0tos

No doubt, medical facilities in Jalandhar are better than in many other cities of India. The stress laid by the Punjab Government on opening Mohalla Clinics will further improve the situation as it will create competition among the stakeholders. It is good that the Punjab Government is bringing in more staff, modern equipment and machinery to Mohalla Clinics. More medical colleges like the AIIMS for research are the need of the hour. Providing generic, cheaper drugs to poor families should be the basic agenda of any government. The hospital staff needs further training and a proper HRD structure should be there for them. Moreover, our pharma industry needs the help of state as well as Central Government in terms of incentives for manufacturing drugs, purchasing or importing raw material from different countries, maintaining strict quality parameters as per international standards, proper labelling of drugs and above all, patenting our drugs. Also, the government should make such policies that pharma companies are able to spend more on research and development of more products. Our students go abroad to get MBBS degrees, surprisingly why can’t we set up more government medical colleges here in India? Even private medical colleges should work on this. Poor students should be given scholarships, and in return, these students should be made to work in India, especially in rural areas for a minimum period of three years after completion of their degrees. The government should make provisions so that patients from neighbouring countries can also get treatment in Punjab hospitals. Also, wherever possible, Ayurvedic medicines should be promoted. Medical hospitals should be given cheaper land, that too outside the cities where traffic congestion is minimal. The state government is doing excellent work but much more is required and this is possible when the state and Central government work together. Else, providing basic medical facilities to the poor in the country will remain a dream.

Harvinder Singh Chugh

Advanced facilities attract patients

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the Ministry of Health to construct new medical hospitals and colleges and enroll more students. The data of new medical colleges and hospitals should be compared to the increasing population. The doctor-patient ratio should be 1:1,000, but in some states, especially in remote areas, the number of doctors is less compared to the population in these areas. Mohalla Clinics have been inaugurated in spite of the presence of civil hospitals in different cities besides ESI Hospitals, but still, patients prefer private hospitals which have all the facilities. The weaker sections of society can use the benefit of Ayushman Health Card. In Himachal Pradesh, AIIMS has been constructed at Bilaspur and there are civil hospitals at various places. Even then, due to the advanced treatment facilities in Jalandhar, a few cases do get referred. The government in Punjab should come out with a mechanism of increasing the staff and doctors in civil hospitals, making sure that proper medicines and test facilities are in operation round-the-clock. The government should take a serious note of all students who have cleared their MBBS from Government Medical Colleges and make it mandatory for them to work for a minimum period of three years in government hospitals before going abroad for higher studies or finding better job opportunities.

Rajat Kumar Mohindru

Form committee to review existing set-up

Streamlining the existing medical infrastructure before venturing into building new hospitals and medical institutions in the state is definitely required. It is common knowledge that the existing medical facilities being offered by the government are inadequate and insufficient. They are also severely crippled due to a shortage of doctors and supporting staff. Even the funds for running services, hospitals and paramedical health services face a constant crunch. The government should form an expert committee to review the existing medical set-up comprehensively for suggesting measures to tailor the services as per the latest requirements. The report needs to be implemented in a time-bound manner and the progress should be reviewed periodically. There should be no mix-up of funds being allocated for running the flagship scheme of AAP, Mohalla Clinics, with funds to be independently allotted for building and maintenance of sound and modern institutional medical infrastructure in the state.

Jagdish Chander

Need to check corporatisation

Amongst top priorities of the government for good governance, health and education are of vital public interest. While education acts as a conduit for social transformation, efficient medical services are essential for the good health of citizens. The present regime in Punjab has endeared this aspect in the right perspective by undertaking some ventures in the field of education, while there are plans to set up medical colleges in each district to promote health services. Alongside, the existing government hospitals being equipped with the latest technology and establishment of new Mohalla Clinics are indeed praiseworthy initiatives of the government. Though at this stage, there are some problems relating to staff constraints, yet the intentions are in the right direction and will certainly be fruitful as more and more people are becoming health conscious. Notably, with this thrust on state medical facilities, a spectacular growth in private sector too is in the offing. After Ludhiana and Amritsar, Jalandhar is fast becoming a hub of super-specialty health services in the state, where patients from peripheral towns and adjoining states like HP and J&K are coming in substantial numbers for treatment. The need is to check excessive corporatisation of hospitals and fix the charges for every medical service to avoid any exploitation of patients at the hands of private entities. Indeed, the government has done a good job by introducing the Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme, but the aspect of medical insurance has to be further expanded. Keeping in view the ongoing staff crunch, the authorities may slow down the opening of more Mohalla Clinics to provide adequate staff at the already running health centres. Meanwhile, it would also be appropriate to restrict private practice by government doctors to give a focused attention to state hospitals, for which they may be compensated suitably through ex-gratia payments. Besides, prior service for a fixed tenure should be made mandatory for the newly graduating professionals, opting for higher studies in India or abroad. Above all, rapid upgrade of existing health infra and shortages of doctors/trained manpower has to be addressed while undertaking fresh ventures for expansion of medical facilities.

Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath

Jalandhar hub for quality medical care

Jalandhar has become a leading hub of medical care in Asia. With a staggering number of over 800 healthcare facilities, ranging from super-specialty hospitals to nursing homes and clinics, the city offers a wide range of medical services to patients. This has made Jalandhar a popular destination for people seeking high-quality medical care from all over the world. Yet, it is astonishing to note that the same medical hub is now facing a scarcity of doctors and nurses and an overwhelming number of patients. This has become a prominent issue considering that patients from neighbouring cities and states, including Himachal Pradesh, are now seeking medical care in the city. The government, on the other hand, keeps introducing new policies and clinics claiming to improve the system, while the actual roots of the infrastructure is shaking. So, the need of the hour is for the government to actually appoint more and more doctors and equip them with the latest medical techniques to catch up with the advancing world. Reservations in the medical examination system are one of the major bugs in the entire organisation of health facilities where the less educated and qualified crack the exam with lower grades compared to the actually able and qualified future doctors. This is why in the practical world, they are unable to cope with the growing need and slow down the pace of treatment and show bad performance as a doctor. The government should lower the percentage of reservation quotas and increase the number of students passing in the test to produce more quality doctors to run the city’s health system. Artificial Intelligence is taking over the world at a rapid speed. With the growing demands of people, AI has proved to be an effective way to reduce the burden of man. The government should also invest its time and money to make robots assist doctors and take over the vacant spaces for the betterment of masses. At present, these steps seem to resolve the issue quite perfectly.

Lakshit Jindal

Recruit more medical staff in govt sector

Medical facilities have improved over the years in government hospitals across the state. There has been a marked improvement and upgrade of physical and technological infrastructure in the hospitals. New complexes catering to different medical needs of the patients have come up in the existing hospitals. Modern diagnostics gadgets have been installed. The supply of medicines that used to be erratic has become regular. Yet a lot needs to be done. Since the pressure on medics is quite high, it is high time physicians were recruited. Physicians, nurses and the other staff play a major role in running a hospital. Huge infrastructure often gathers dust as there are few employees — technical and non-technical — to look after the system. Therefore, a recruitment policy must be accorded top priority. Without staff, no infrastructure, however huge and costly, can thrive. The incumbent governments — Central and state — are doing their bit to change the face of the existing health services. But it often pains the citizens to note that every government announces the opening of new hospitals without ramping up facilities in the existing ones. Instead of opening up new health centres, funds should be spent on the upgrade of existing hospitals. This will offer a host of benefits: it will save time, funds and energy. Secondly, it will help poor patients seek timely treatment at existing hospitals.

Prof Rajan Kapoor

NRIs helped boost medicare in Doaba

Amritsar enjoyed the status of having the most prominent pre-Partition Government Medical College and the Victoria Jubilee Hospital associated with it for decades. The scene gradually but imperceptibly shifted to Jalandhar, thanks to the thousands of NRIs hailing from Doaba (region between Beas and Satluj), comfortably settled in the West. Not surprisingly, they have affiliations with their roots back home, and many have established high-end hospitals of international standards, laboratories and other allied services including a medical college, besides an AC mortuary, to serve their needs in Jalandhar which also figures well in terms of connectivity, air quality and law and order. On the other hand, facilities at public healthcare centres dwindled, thus giving a fillip to private ventures across state. In fact, like private schools, colleges and transport, private hospitals thrived at the cost of government institutions and the political leadership encouraged the trend and even had a share of the pie. Soon, the well-oiled state system collapsed before vested interests. Now, there is an attempt to resuscitate the same, but with limited success. The PGIMER at Chandigarh cannot handle the load of all referrals. Amritsar is nowhere in the picture, hence, the preference for Jalandhar, which can now be called the medical capital of Punjab. Right now, Mohalla Clinics are becoming popular for the Aam Aadmi but the service and expensive facilities available in Doaba cannot easily be made available everywhere.

Prof Mohan Singh

Upgrade and Build new health facilities

Yes, certainly the state government should focus on improving the existing infrastructural and staff problems in existing hospitals. Opening of new medical colleges and clinics will not resolve any problem of patients until old medical hospitals in various cities are upgraded. This is because of the harsh fact that quality service always takes precedence over quantity. What’s the utility when patients of the state are left to fend for themselves, due to mismanagement of old hospitals in various cities, that arise on account of lack of availability of expert doctors or other required medical infrastructure?

Sanjay Chawla

Question for next week

Is the practice of jumping onto the bandwagons right before elections is diluting the ersthwhile charm of party loyalists? The practice of people sticking to parties for ages as loyal workers is becoming a thing of the past as chosen representatives switch sides frequently. Does this practice inspire confidence in voters?

Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to [email protected] by Thursday (April 4)

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