The Punjab Health Department is now taking corrective measures for their patients' speedy recovery. It has upgraded its primary and secondary care hospitals to protect the infrastructure from giving way under the weight of patients.
Chandigarh's premier institution - the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) was established to carry out quality research in the field of medicine. But, the actual job of research had to take a back seat because of the pressure of patient inflow.
Doctors are overburdened as the hospital caters to over 1.3 million outdoor patients, 50,000 indoor and the equivalent number of emergency patients every year.
And to take-up the entire burden, PGI has a faculty of nearly 367 and around 900 resident doctors deputed round O' clock.
Dr. K K Talwar, Director, PGIMER, said, "Those in the clinical staff are so much busy in handling patients' load that they get little time for research activities, which I think are the mandate of these institutions. If tomorrow, if we have to compete with the medical institutes in the outside world, we can do that not only by our load or by the number of patients we are handling. We have to compete with them by the quality of medical research, we are doing. The quality of medical service we are providing."
It the same story in other major hospitals in Chandigarh and Punjab. The only solution therefore is to strengthen peripheral services and improve the infrastructure at primary healthcare centers.
The Chandigarh and Punjab Health Department are trying to re-furbish medical infrastructure at primary and secondary level hospitals.
"This year, we will spend about 18 crores on the purchase of equipments and upgradation of infrastructure in these hospitals. To fulfill the requirement of manpower in district hospitals, for the first time, we are going to recruit 147 specialists that include gynecologists, pediatricians and surgeons. In Punjab before this, such direct recruitment had not taken place ever," said Dr. Satish Chandra, Health Secretary, Punjab Government.
To reduce the burden on medical research institutes, all 20 districts of Punjab have been connected to PGIMER through telemedicine.
Latest infrastructure like diagnostic and other medical equipment have been upgraded after financial assistance of 115 million USD from the World Bank.
Dr. Paramjit Singh, Mohali Civil Hospital, said, "All the patients we are diagnosing 90 per cent of them are fully cured here itself. The patients are satisfied. In case, we see that any patient has some serious problem like some heart ailments or cancer that needed to be diagnosed at tertiary level hospitals, then those cases are referred from here."
As more institutes like PGIMER are created for the growing population, measures to streamline primary and secondary healthcare will be an absolute necessity.
Significantly, this in turn will result in reduction of patient inflow into research institutes. By Sunil Sharma.