In his first address to the Parliament, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had said that he was in favour of expanding the Out-patient Department service from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in government hospitals.
Government hospitals doctors, however, said it would be very difficult to enforce the rule as many doctors disappear during duty hours to run private clinics. Bir Hospital, a major referral health centre, is an example of how doctors play truant.
As Bir Hospital’s previous efforts of offering incentives failed to keep the doctors in their chamber during their duty hours, the authorities have started placing name plates in all departments and units of the hospital telling the public to lodge complaints against doctors if they are not in their chamber during duty hours.
The hospital administration had provided 100 per cent allowance of salary to all staffers to encourage them to remain in their chambers during duty hours.
It provided additional 50 per cent to doctors involved in academic activities of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and 250 per cent allowances to anesthesiologists. But these incentives failed to tempt doctors to work full hours at the hospital.
As the incentives failed to keep the doctors at the hospital, the hospital administration called a meeting of the departments and unit heads and told them to ensure that doctors do not to run private clinics during duty hours. That again did not make any difference.
Then the hospital switched to electronic attendance system hoping that the technology would compel the doctors to serve patients during their duty hours in the hospital. However, the technology too failed to yield expected results.
Some doctors started coming hospital early to register their attendance and enter only in the evening to show that they were loyal to their duties.
Finally the hospital has decided to place name plates of the doctors every day in their departments and units to keep them in the hospital during duty hours. “We have decided to place name plates in all departments and units,” said, Dr Bhupendra Kumar Basnet, director at the hospital. He hoped that the new method would help the hospital make doctors accountable.
According to Director Basnet, the hospital administration will take departmental action if any doctor or his team is found absent during duty hours.
Patients can registered their complaints if they do not find doctors in the hospital during duty hours.