Central government hospitals asked to conduct manpower ‘gap analysis'

aiims, health ministry, esic, covid, hospitals, healthcare

The Union Health ministry has advised all central government health institutions, from AIIMS to autonomous Covid-19 hospitals and ESIC health facilities, to immediately conduct a ‘gap analysis’ to identify manpower shortfall and address it to tackle any future surge in Covid cases.

They have been asked to strengthen their tele medicine network and manpower to aid rural areas, in case of a surge.

In a communication dated September 14, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has cited the recommendations of Empowered Group 3 on strengthening the workforce to address the shortfall. The issue was taken up at a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister’s Office this week.

The health ministry has advised that secondary and tertiary level facilities under the central government and ESIC institutions take the lead in capacity building and strengthening tele medicine services through ‘e-sanjeevani’ platform to aid lower level facilities in peripheral areas, to address any future surge in cases.

It has asked central government institutions ‘to leverage the private sector’ and expand their capacity for service delivery and training in coordination with respective states/union territories.The communication has been sent to the secretaries of various central departments associated with health facilities (from Education to Defence ministry), heads of all dedicated central government hospitals and autonomous hospitals for Covid management.

aiims, health ministry, esic, covid, hospitals, healthcare

Key to the manpower augmentation plan is the guidance note issued by Empowered Group 3 –– a high-power government panel –– chaired by labour secretary Apurva Chandra. It was discussed at a high-level meeting this week that workforce augmentation was essential for central government health facilities as well. A communication was sent by the health ministry to get the wheels moving across key national hospitals.

The guidance note has detailed staffing norms for augmentation of workforce at four levels of health facilities — community/village/ward/slum level. Covid-care centres are to manage mild and asymptomatic cases, dedicated Covid health centres are to manage moderate cases and dedicated Covid hospitals are to handle severe cases.

The government panel has, for the first-time, paved the way for engaging MBBS and dental interns, specialists from across disciplines, and Ayush practitioners to pitch in. Special attention has been paid to the huge shortage of paediatricians and anaesthetists and training has been recommended for medical officers –– MBBS doctors manning primary health centres –– to aid in basic Covid management if the need arises.

The National Board of Examination in Medical Sciences is preparing a three-month certificate course each for paediatric care and anaesthesiology. States are being urged to train their medical officers in collaboration with NBE.Training is being recommended for anganwadi workers, physiotherapists, allied healthcare workers so that they can also be roped in to ease the burden on the nursing staff in a high pressure situation, like seen in the second wave.

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