Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital reels under shortage of senior doctors

Many key departments such as respiratory medicine and radiology are working with half the strength of the senior residents.

Published: 17th November 2022 08:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2022 08:01 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Center-run Safdarjung Hospital, which caters to the largest crowd of patients who come to tertiary and government-assisted treatment in the national capital, is reeling under a severe paucity of senior doctors. 

Estimates suggest that more than 40 per cent of the sanctioned strength of senior residents is vacant in the apex institute. According to the doctors, posts for more than 400 senior medicos out of 1,000 are unfilled for many months.

Many key departments such as respiratory medicine and radiology are working with half the strength of the senior residents. “Twelve out 24 sanctioned posts for senior resident doctors are vacant in Respiratory medicine while only 20 senior doctors are working in Radiology,” said a doctor. 

Due to staff shortages, many doctors are not able to take leaves even after falling sick, said officials.  “We are sacrificing our personal work for the job but the paucity is affecting our health. Female doctors of obstetrics and gynaecology department are working 24X7,” another doctor said.

According to the doctors, this has a ramification on patient care as well. “The level of alertness required in dealing with patients cannot be achieved through healthcare professionals who see them after completing a shift of 24 hours,” he added.

Sources said that the last recruitment for the post happened in April this year. Even then, many vacancies were not filled as previously recruited residents left the hospital and many keep switching to other institutes which caused a huge gap in human resources. 

However, doctors said that this is a normal scenario and the institute should take a recruitment drive timely to address the vacant posts. “After much pressure, the hospital advertised recruitment in August. However, examinations happened last week only. Now interviews and final results are awaited,” a doctor said.

He also said that if things continue with the “snail pace,” it will take January to finally recruit the vacant staff. Dr BL Sherwal, Medical Superintendent of the hospital said, “We are very short of staff but the recruitment process is on. We expect the new workforce to join by this month.”


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