Recent incidents point to the fact that, across India, the relationship between doctors and patients is worsening.
On 10 June, in Kolkata’s NRS Hospital, soon after a patient died, his relatives allegedly attacked some junior doctors. After this, West Bengal witnessed many protests which inturn triggered protests across India. Several doctors boycotted work while they demanded for better security for themselves in hospitals.
The Quint reached Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Hospital in Gorakhpur, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency, to conduct a reality check of the conditions in which doctors work.
This is the same hospital, where in 2017, hundreds of children died due to an alleged lack of oxygen.
The doctor-patient ratio in the country is 1:1000, as per the WHO. This ratio is much worse in some states. According to the 2016 Parliamentary Committee Report on Family and Welfare, there are only six doctors for every 10,000 citizens in India.
The ‘Crisis’ in Uttar Pradesh
Particularly looking at Uttar Pradesh, which is the most populous state in India, it has one of the worst doctor-patient ratios in the country. In fact, a recent report by NITI Aayog pointed out that UP is the worst-performing state on the basis of health indicators.
A junior doctor at the hospital, Dr Ashutosh, explained the stressful condition under which doctors work:
“We don’t have fixed working hours. At times, we work for 36 hours straight, and, then get an off. 18 is the bare minimum we all work. There is less staff and more workload.”Dr Ashutosh, Junior Doctor, BRD Medical College
Doctors Pressing for Security
Violence against doctors isn’t limited to Kolkata. In fact, in recent years, UP has witnessed many such incidents as well:
- September, 2018 : SN Medical College, Agra
- September 2018 : BHU, Varanasi
- October, 2017 : Medical College, Jalaun
- August 2018 : Kanpur Medical College, Kanpur
“If a clash breaks out, we are provided with temporary security. They don’t put in place a permanent solution. They should provide a permanent solution to this problem, like corporate hospitals do.”Dr Pushpraj Singh, Junior Doctor, BRD Hospital
What’s the state of doctors in other parts of the country? Find out in our series: