Nepal | July 20, 2019

EDITORIAL: Do duty

The Himalayan Times

Strong departmental action must be taken against those who flout the hospital rules and remain absent during working hours

One of the major problems of the government hospitals is that most of the doctors do not keep their duty hours though they are provided up to 100 to 200 percent allowance on their salaries.

Most of them are found to be engaged in private clinics or in privately-run hospitals where they may also have made investment. The doctors engaged in academic activities are provided with 150 percent incentives and anesthesiologists with 200 percent at Bir Hospital, a major referral centre.

The efforts of Bir Hospital and other hospitals to keep their doctors working in the hospital did not yield any result as the doctors often remain absent even during the duty hours.

In order to ameliorate this situation, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, in his first address to Parliament, had announced that the government doctors would have to remain in hospitals from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

But the Prime Minister’s pledge has faced fierce opposition from the doctors and staffers, arguing that it would be “very difficult” to implement it.

With a view to discouraging the doctors from getting off their duty during working hours the hospital administrations have started placing name plates in all departments and units of all the government hospitals so that service seekers can lodge complaints if any of the doctors play truant.

Previous efforts of keeping them in their departments and units during the working hours through the use of electronic attendance system had also failed.

Most doctors used to come to the hospital in early hours to register their attendance and turned up at the hospitals only at closing hour to show that they had been to the hospital throughout the duty hours.

After all attempts to keep them in the hospitals failed, the administration started placing the name plate every day in their departments and units. This measure is expected to yield desired results as it will definitely compel the doctors to remain dutiful during working hours.

Most private hospitals do not have their permanent doctors specialized in related fields. They entirely depend on the specialized doctors working in the government hospitals where they spend not much time attending the patients.

This has led to the poor health services at government hospitals and many people who cannot afford to go to expensive health facilities are forced to attend the private hospitals where the government doctors are found busy minting money.

This has to stop if the efficiency and quality of health services of the government hospitals were to improve as per the public expectations and the government expenditure in the health sector.

The government should also engage its doctors in health research and academic activities which are almost non-existent in the government hospitals.

More incentives – in terms of perks, promotion or further higher level of studies – should be offered to those medical practitioners engaged in research, publication of research articles and academic activities.

Strong departmental action must be taken against those who flout the hospital rules and remain absent during working hours.


Unheeded calls

The various committees of Legislature-Parliament from time to time give directives to the government or one or another of its agencies to do or not to something which is of great public interest.

This kind of reminder or warning should have its importance. But those responsible for executing such work are often found less sensitive than they should be and therefore such directives often go unheeded.

The Development Committee of Parliament has directed the government to complete upgrading and blacktopping a number of roads inside the Kathmandu Valley by the end of the current fiscal year.

But there have already been plenty of pledges, commitments, directives and other reminders over the past three years or more, but things have not improved much.

In the first place, the government should not have dug up too many roads at the same time or in quick succession, without having any solid plans to reconstruct them on time. Officials have tended to pass the buck but not to learn lessons and improve.

Such delays in performance causing the public years of inconvenience, and posing various hazards for them, continue because there is no effective system of holding people accountable and punishing them.

 

 


A version of this article appears in print on October 28, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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