New Delhi: Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, had recently informed the Lok Sabha that the working hours for doctors and other medical practitioners at three Centre-run hospitals, Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge Medical College, and the associated hospitals in Delhi, usually did not exceed 40 hours a week.
Doctors have retaliated to this statement claiming that they often work for as much as 100 hours a week.
The minister, in response to a question, had; however, added that the working hours of doctors and medical professionals were governed by the exigencies of their work and depended on situations like emergency duty.
Government’s claim has annoyed the doctors, more so the resident doctors, who have claimed that they put in more than double the hours.
The minister had; however, also stated that no case of negligence of duty or deterioration of quality of healthcare services was reported on account of the extended working hours in these central government hospitals. He had also said that sufficient number of doctors were available these hospitals and in situations of increased workload, new posts are created so that that the required manpower is available to deliver optimum care and to ensure that there is no medical negligence.
A senior resident doctor at the AIIMS mentioned that the working hours for doctors at the Centre-run hospitals were usually around 100-120 hours/week owing to a heavy rush of patients and a shortage of doctors. He further stated that the work timings differ depending on the department a doctor is working in, as the doctors in Emergency, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medicine and Surgery departments have longer work timings compared to the other departments.
Another senior resident doctor at the hospital stated that lack of sleep and increased amount of work results in stress among doctors, making them prone to depression.
A resident doctor at the Safdarjung hospital stated that this kind of a work environment leads to instances of medical negligence. Lack of proper infrastructure and paucity of doctors and staff overburdens the resident doctors. The doctors try to take care of the health of the patients, but nobody is concerned about the doctors’ mental and physical health. The government should work towards regulating the working hours of doctors so that they can work towards providing quality care to the patients. (New Indian Express)