Hyderabad: The State government wants doctors at all teaching hospitals in Telangana to spend more time in outpatient departments so that they can provide service to a larger number of patients on a daily basis.
To make this happen, the State government has also issued a circular to all the teaching hospitals defining the working hours of doctors. Senior health officials said the State government wants doctors to provide consultation to patients between 9 am and 2 pm in place of the existing consultation timings of 9 am to 12 noon.
The authorities have also asked teaching hospitals to increase the registration time of OP patients till 12 noon. At present, every day, in the morning hours, a large number of patients flock to government hospitals from distant places to access OP facilities at top tertiary hospitals. However, a majority of them are sent back because the OP registrations are closed by 10 am at teaching hospitals.
Benefit for patients
Once the registration process, which involves issuing tokens to patients, is extended up to 12 noon, more number of patients will be able to meet government doctors for consultation. “This way, we can accommodate more patients who come from far-flung regions and save a day for them. Because, usually, such patients are asked to come the next day, which is financially not viable for them,” top health officials said.
The State government has made it clear that OP at teaching hospitals can be closed for the day only after all the patients, who have registered till 12 noon, have received consultation from the doctor. “It is the duty of all the doctors of all cadres of the unit to attend to all patients who are registered till the closure of OP registration, which is followed all over India,” the circular said.
The decision has not gone down well with the Telangana Government Doctors Association (TGDA), which has maintained that teaching will be affected. “When will we get time to teach PG students, if we spend time at the hospital from 9 am to 4 pm,” senior doctors from TGDA ask.
Senior health officials, however, have brushed aside the argument and have maintained that teaching will not be affected if teaching hospitals plan and follow unit-wise teaching. “This concept is prevalent everywhere. Lunch breaks can be taken between 1 pm and 1.30 pm or 1.30 pm and 2 pm, as per departmental convenience without causing disturbance to patient care and teaching programmes,” doctors said.