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    Maharashtra's private hospitals, district Covid centres battle heavy staff attrition

    Synopsis

    At a parallel level, Covid care centres of different districts are also engaged in active poaching of healthcare personnel from other districts, luring them with higher pay and additional facilities like food and lodging.

    Private hospitals in Maharashtra are seeing a heavy attrition of their medical personnel who are opting to work at government-sponsored Covidcare centres as the remuneration offered by them is substantially high. At a parallel level, Covidcare centres of different districts are also engaged in active poaching of healthcare personnel from other districts, luring them with higher pay and additional facilities like food and lodging.

    With cases in the state rising phenomenally (around 23,000 per day), there is tremendous demand for doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff. However, many have been quitting within weeks of joining.

    “We are facing 20%-30% attrition as people are quitting. Other hospitals are approaching our staff with more salaries, and districts which are facing shortage are also doing the same. Manpower providing agencies are also adding to the attrition,” said Ayush Prasad, Pune zilla parishad CEO.

    Two months back, when most districts were yet to wake up to tackling the pandemic, Prasad said that their zilla began issuing advertisements in all districts, seeking doctors, nurses, ward boys and lab technicians.

    Prasad brought in BAMS, BHMS and even BDS (Bachelor of Dental Studies) doctors to work at the Covid centres. He spoke to the fathers of nurses living in far off places like Nagpur and Latur and assured them that Pune district would take care of their food and stay arrangements.

    Prasad managed to create a team, but is now struggling to hold on to it.

    “We were short of numbers, but we were managing with the right number of doctors, nurses and healthcare personnel. However, we are seeing a lot of attrition happening from our covid centres. I have requested several districts which are floating advertisements for staff to not poach on our personnel,” Prasad said.

    However, districts with rising covid cases and no doctors are desperately poaching on doctors from Pune and elsewhere. The Pune zilla parishad says they can’t pay more than Rs 80,000 monthly salaries under the National Health Mission Guidelines. Richer civic bodies are however willing to pay higher for doctors.

    Prasad feels that this shortage may eased in a few days. “The state will get 1,600 doctors from the batch that has just graduated from the medical colleges. They will be available at the jumbo covid centres/ hospitals.”

    “We have also created a scheme wherein private doctors can serve on Covid duties in government hospitals on two shifts a week and physicians can come to government hospitals for rounds every morning and be available on call. This flexibility has helped us,” he said.

    Indian Medical Association Maharashtra vice-president, Sanjay Patil, said, “Junior doctors in private hospitals are usually paid around Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000. Since Covid centres offer Rs 80,000 per month, many of our staff are quitting. So it’s not just district covid centres, attrition is everywhere,” said Patil.

    He gave the example of his friend’s hospital where six doctors resigned in the past two weeks.

    “This is a free for all, which will eventually not help anyone. Doctors from private hospitals are being poached and employed in district covid centres. When other districts set up covid centres, these doctors are again being poached. We have apprised the government that we need to be working together.”
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    SSR 6 days ago
    Sena hithe lakshay dya, bavlatt Best Sheee-M
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