COVID FEAR still rules high: Medical staff dread going back to work in private hospitals
The staff who showed reluctance to work in private hospitals are now resuming their work
Hyderabad: Private hospitals had a tough time to function as usual for nearly four months after lockdown restrictions were eased from June onwards. Medical staff working in various departments were reluctant to come and work in a hospital atmosphere fearing risk to lives from coronavirus.
Medical staff from nursing, technical, front-desk and reception, housekeeping, and sanitation as well as other support staff had shied away from duties. As such private hospitals in districts as well as in the State capital functioned with reduced manpower, at times 50 per cent of their usual strength from pre-Covid times.
To motivate the medical staff to attend duties regularly, the hospital managements had to adopt different tactics like increased pay (50 to 100 per cent ), alternate day duties and giving salaries on the 30th or 31st of every month moving away from the customary practice of giving salaries after first of every month. The fear of working in Covid wards amidst virus-infected patients made the staff to show reluctance towards duties. Some of the house cleaning staff also shied away because they were not ready to clean floors, rooms and restrooms.
Hospital administrations were helpless as the medical staff were concerned about the safety and well-being of their family members and hence did not act tough, especially with their senior staff members associated for a long period. According to V Rakesh, president of Telangana Network Hospitals Association, private hospitals in the district faced problems during corona pandemic.
If the shortage of staff was a big challenge, hospitals had to do with reduced occupancy of hospital beds, increased black marketing of essential items like oxygen cylinders, PPE kits, essential drugs for some time, pending dues from various health insurance schemes.
Meanwhile, Dr Bhaskar Rao from Telangana Super-Specialty Hospitals Association and MD, KIMS hospitals stated that the situation had drastically improved in September. The fear of working in hospitals was evident during three-four months from June and medical staff shied away. Off late, the situation had changed and staff has started reported back to duties slowly, he added.