Patient care in City Government Hospitals takes a toll due to shortage of working staff

By: Kritika Arora

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patients waiting outside the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital
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Bangalore, October 6: Insufficient working staff in government hospitals in the city is leading to inadequate patient care.

A nurse in Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, said, “As there are so many patients to tend to, everything gets delayed. For instance, I am supposed to give injection to a particular patient at 9 a.m, because of much work,  I am not able to give it before 9:30 or so.”

In the General Ward of Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital, the number of beds stands at 804 and the number of nurses is 164. Moreover, the 30 per cent leave reserve of the hospital brings the nurse-patient ratio to 1:40. The Indian Nursing Council (INC) stipulates the nurse-patient ratio to be 1:4, but the average ratio in Karnataka stands at 1:30 (one nurse to 30 patients)An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Staff Nurse in Bowring, said, “The ratio is very low. Sometimes one nurse has to tend to 50 patients, which consequently, affects the quality of the care we provide to the patients”.

“The wait is excruciating,” said Raju, a patient who had come in with a fractured leg. “We have to wait for a long time for the staff to meet us. What else to expect from a government hospital which makes us sit for hours.”

“We are the ones who look after the cleanliness, diet charts, injections, medicines, instruments, everything. And when there are too many patients to look after, we have to be patient. Even one patient takes time; and when there are 30 to 40 patients, the patient care obviously suffers”, says a contractual staff nurse in Bowring.

A senior nursing staff at Bowring, said, “ We have 109 contract nurses  and 32 government nurses. Where on one hand government nurses get Rs 21,000 per month, contract nurses get Rs 10,000 per month for the same number of hours and effort. Even government nurses’ pensions were scrapped in 2006. So what will drive the nurses to work?”

Sunil kumar, a post graduate (medicine) student in the hospital said, “With less working staff in the hospitals, it becomes a struggle. During the monsoons, the dengue cases rise and not only the nurses, we have a shortage of beds, too.”


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