681 posts out of sanctioned 1,696 paramedic slots vacant in GMC, associated hospitals

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COMBATING COVID WITH DEFICIENT STAFF

VIVEK SHARMA

JAMMU: At a time when the Government Medical College and Associated Hospitals Jammu is accounting for majority of COVID related deaths across the Union Territory, the deficiency of paramedics is seen by the suffering people as one of the factors for alarming mortality rate.

E X C L U S I V E

Against the sanctioned strength of 1696 non gazetted employees including junior paramedics staffers, only 1015 staffers are working in Government Medical College and its Associated Hospitals in Jammu. 681 posts are lying vacant. Reason: Political and bureaucratic interference always brushed aside the doctors’ advices from recruitment to infrastructure to ensure better patient care.
In absence of staff, the GMC doctors feel constrained to allow attendants for help inside the COVID wards. The mismanagement is so pronounced that the attendants keep running from pillar to post with every beat of their patients, mostly without PPE kits. With simple masks, they enter the highly sensitive COVID wards where doctors and para-medical staffers are fully covered and protected with PPE kits.

‘In absence of staff, attendants allowed for help inside COVID wards’

Chest Diseases Hospital has a sanctioned strength of 140 staffers while 64 posts are vacant. Similarly, GMC’s Super Specialty Hospital has a sanctioned strength of 136 staffers and 71 slots are vacant.
GMC Hospital has 138 vacant posts against 582 sanctioned staff. Maternity Child Hospital, a new hospital at Gandhi Nagar, has 17 posts vacant against sanctioned strength of 28 para medics.
With 163 vacant posts of para medical staffers, the GMC is fighting the coronavirus with only 149 staffers against sanctioned strength of 312 staffers.
At SMGS Hospital, 208 posts are vacant against the sanctioned strength of 451 staffers. Psychiatric Hospital has sanctioned strength of 47 staffers while 20 are vacant.
Since April 25, the spike in deaths is continuously reported in the GMC with five corona related fatalities taking place on April 25, six on April 26, seven on April 27, six on April 28, seven on April 29, nine on April 30, 13 on May 1, 15 on May 2, 24 on May 3. On May 4, ten deaths were reported and on May 5, there were 15 deaths in GMC hospital.
On May 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 11 and May 12 there were 19, 18, 16, 18, 23, 16 and 25 fatalities reported in GMC hospitals respectively.
The alarming mortality rate in the GMC has caused much panic among the people, who look towards the institution as only hope during the grim times. The reports about low pressure oxygen during nights have added to the anxieties of the citizens.
“As the GMC Jammu lacks skilled and trained staff for night deployments, there is generally steep decrease in pressure of oxygen supply, which leads to deaths,” suggested the experts panel. The recent audit of the oxygen pipes in GMC Jammu and its Hospitals, carried out by a team of experts from IIT Jammu, GCET and SMVDU last week had also pointed out that the ‘paramedical staff be trained in the handling of the knobs and valves to restrict wastage and be made aware of the shortage of oxygen supply.’ The team had also recommended that proper roaster be prepared for regular maintenance of all equipments and machinery corresponding to the supply of oxygen to patients.