Odisha's ESIC doctors on week-long Puja holiday, patients left in the lurch 

Sources said doctors from casualty and emergency shifts are being diverted for OPD and emergency services besides management of life threatening cases.

Published: 14th October 2021 07:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2021 07:50 AM   |  A+A-


Representational Image (Express Illustration)

By Express News Service

ROURKELA: The only Model Hospital of Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) for Odisha at Jail Road in Rourkela is facing a crisis of sorts with majority of specialists and general duty medical officers (GDMOs) going on week-long holidays for the Durga Puja festival. Patients needing emergency treatment have been left to fend for themselves and are forced to rush to private hospitals by spending from their own pocket. 

Reliable sources informed that four of the seven specialist doctors and 10 of the 16 GDMOs have gone on leave from Monday, October 11, till Saturday, October 16. On Wednesday, Surgery, Orthopedic and ENT departments were closed. 

The Medicine department was partially functional with one specialist and three junior doctors on leave. Patients complained that the only available doctor in Medicine comes late to the hospital and leaves early.  

On Tuesday, a patient, Amrita Pandey (32), registered for consultation and treatment at the General Surgery department for severe abdominal pain. However, from 9.30 am to 10.45 am, no doctor was available. Finally, the medical officer at room no-13 (Family Medicine) checked Pandey but had to face angry reaction from other patients waiting for long hours.  

Pandey was given pain alleviating treatment and kept at the casualty for some hours. Hesitant to undergo treatment at the RSP-run Ispat General Hospital, the only empanelled hospital of ESIC at Rourkela, she finally opted for a private hospital at her own cost. 

Some doctors requesting anonymity said the situation would not improve till Sunday and they are in a tricky situation as patients needing urgent specialist treatment cannot be kept waiting for days. Sources said doctors from casualty and emergency shifts are being diverted for OPD and emergency services besides management of life threatening cases. Ideally, at least 15 doctors are required to attend to around 300 patients.

CITU vice-president of Odisha unit Jehangir Ali said around 1.5 lakh insured persons and 3.5 lakh people of Sundargarh and neighbouring industrial and mining districts are dependent on the Model Hospital. “The ESIC runs on the contribution from insured persons. The hospital administration should immediately recall the doctors to resume duty failing which protest will be staged,” Ali warned. Medical superintendent of the hospital Dr Jayanti Behera did not answer the calls.


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