The Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has written a letter to PM Narendra Modi highlighting the prevalence of VIP culture in government hospitals in India. In the letter, the doctors’ association informed that doctors are at the forefront of this pandemic and are risking their own lives but what they receive in return is standing in long queues for COVID-19 testing, no bed or ICU availability when tested positive for their own self. The letter added that priority is being given to all the so-called politicians and their party workers who have actually held rallies and increased the spread of the virus.
“Central govt hospitals have VIP counters for testing allowing all party workers of politicians and ministries to get themselves tested but doctors have no separate counter for testing. Even when VIP counters are available for covid testing, the majority of politicians call doctors at their residence which has no legal order from the Medical Superintendent but is happening informally using the doctors working in govt setup and thus further reducing and wasting the limited manpower available. We as doctors strongly oppose this VIP culture being awarded to politicians, bureaucrats, party workers, etc. Kindly look into this matter seriously sir,” the letter further said.
COVID-19 risk among health workers
Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told Rajya Sabha that 162 doctors, 107 nurses, and 44 ASHA workers have died due to Covid-19 till February 2.
However, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had raised objections at the government data and said that 734 doctors had died due to Covid-19 till February 3, “of which 431 were general practitioners, who were the first point of contact for the people”.
Lack of medical resources
Lack of medical resources, availability of appropriate PPE and lack of uniform application of infection prevention strategies remain a cause of concerns and occupational risk for healthcare professionals in India, as far as COVID-19 care is concerned.
Recently, resident doctors of the city-based Government Medical College and Hospital Nagpur protested against the government and the district administration over the shortage of medical resources to treat coronavirus patients. “Since the past one month, the situation is getting worse which has forced us to stop the intake of new patients. The shortage of medical resources is also hampering the delivery of healthcare to the general (non-COVID) patients which is not acceptable. We are a government institution and the general public, especially marginalised groups look up to us for treatment and denying them that is unjust. We demand a permanent solution from the district administration for this crisis,” a resident doctor said.
The pandemic situation has thrown at us a big challenge of addressing the high demand of not only doctors, nurses and paramedical staff but non-medical support staff that plays an equally vital role in the seamless operation of any medical facility. The need of the hour is to address the issues that the healthcare professionals are facing or we may see several other unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.