Short of specialists, Punjab to train intensive care doctors | Chandigarh News
Chandigarh: The government of Punjab is ready to train qualified doctors in the intensive care of patients to overcome the shortage of anesthesiologists, who play a vital role in the management of infected patients, in line with a possible third wave of Covid-19 in the next months .
The state government is grappling with a shortage of anesthesiologists and struggling to fill vacancies. About 100 anesthetists work in public hospitals while about 120 positions are vacant.
The Punjab has been hit hard by the second wave of infection, pushing the number of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and patients requiring respiratory assistance to an all-time high. Health officials have had to scramble with limited resources to treat patients.
The shortage of anesthesiologists even forced the health department to provide many life-saving ventilators to private hospitals that were unused in many districts.
Officials say they received a poor response to walk-in interviews conducted by the health department. After only three anesthesiologists showed up for the interview recently held on June 5, another round of interviews is scheduled for June 19.
In view of the planned third wave, the government decided to provide training in Vital Anesthesia Techniques (LSAS) to qualified MBBS doctors. In accordance with the plan, the selected doctors will receive training on the skills and competencies necessary to treat cases requiring life-saving care in intensive care units and Covid departments. They will receive practical knowledge about ventilators, the anesthesia machine and the safe administration of anesthesia.
Senior Health Secretary Hussan Lal said the government had made efforts to fill the vacancies but had not received a good response so far. Thus, the doctors will receive training in the faculties of medicine of the State and of the PGIMER of Chandigarh. After completing the training, they will be deployed to intensive care units and Covid departments under the supervision of anesthesiologists. “These specially trained doctors will lighten the workload for the anesthetists,” he said.
As the existing workforce is overburdened due to limited resources, Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) President Dr Gagandeep Singh, who is an anesthesiologist, said that although the planned move will ease their burden of work, it cannot be a permanent arrangement and has asked the government to fill the vacancies by making policy changes. “The planned move can only be a short-term arrangement during the time of Covid,” he added.
To address the issue of poor response to advertised positions, Dr Gagandeep suggested that the government should allow MBBS physicians to do MD after completing three years of service.
DEPENDENCY OF PVT FACILITIES
Due to limited resources, the government of Punjab is heavily dependent on private health facilities for level III beds. There are 1,472 intensive care beds with ventilators for critically ill patients, of which 710 are in private hospitals, while of 1,262 intensive care beds without ventilators, 1,102 are in private hospitals. Most of the Level III beds in government facilities are in Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot, where the government medical schools are located.