Hi.. I'm a young doctor working at GH and am an avid listener of your show, which coincides with the time I'm driving to work, every morning.
This discussion about the state of our Government Hospitals is a very valid & interesting one. While on one hand I agree with the things that have been said especially with respect to cleanliness and the ward boys' asking for money, I would like to point out a few lacunae, which may be the reasons for the woes of GH.
1. The moment our bigwigs begin to come to GH, the things are bound to change. A few decades ago, when the top politicos fell ill, they were brought to GH and consequently the facilities improved and new equipments and a clean premises was maintained. My suggestion is that if our ministers/CM get admitted in GH (where, believe me, the quality of doctors and nurses are on par with outside) the whole place will automatically get a facelift in terms of cleanliness and equipment. Like how our PM goes to AIIMS, similarly our CM and others should admit themselves in GH. I am asking them to trust in the same system that caters to majority of their people.
2.The ward boys are employed through a contract basis. They have awful working hours of 12 hours a day and have to do work such as transport patients up the buildings when lifts aren't working, clean up the wards and toilets (which the patients & their relatives dirty indiscriminately) and sundry other things. Most of them are married and have families to look after. And for all this they are paid Rs.1500-2000 per month. The point I am making is that these people deserve a bit more for their hard work. I am sure that they would not ask for money from patients if they are better paid. Some black sheeps exist though and inspite of repeated warnings from doctors they continue harassing patients and have been thrown out on our insistence.
3. Our patients themselves are a difficult lot to deal with. Just come to the new tower blocks and observe the way they look after the public property. As usual, they spit everywhere, urinate in public (even when there are clean toilets maintained by the Corporation, within the compound), eat inside the wards and dirty everything around them. The latrine is a dustbin for them and very often in our daily rounds,we docs inspect the toilets and admonish patients who dirty them beyond scope of any clean-up. And it is left to the ward boys to clean up after the patients have dirtied the place. These people smoke in the ward and occasionally a few of them have misbehaved with the nursing staff too. Any number of requests/scoldings/threats don't seem to work for these rowdy elements amongst the patients (though most patients are very simple, trustworthy & lovable people).
4.There are few more ails affecting out system of healthcare. Though it must be said that TN healthcare is amongst the best managed in India. Obviously, there is scope for improvement, as we can see.. I hope you will take note and highlight issues from the other side of the fence as well.
5. I guess, we need accountability in our society. In every aspect. Surety of punishment and not its magnitude is the only deterrent to indiscipline.