The Telegraph
Saturday , March 22 , 2014
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Nurse crunch in cancer hub

Guwahati, March 21: Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) here is facing a dearth of staff nurses.

Currently, only 49 nurses are attending to over 200 patients in the hospital. Besides, these nurses have to work in three shifts, which means those working on one shift will not be available in the other two shifts. This means that at any point in time about 16-17 nurses have to attend to every patient in the 200-bed hospital.

Ideally, one nurse should attend to three-four patients in a shift. But at BBCI, one nurse may have to look after 10 patients during a shift.

“My uncle, who is suffering from blood cancer, was admitted about two months ago. During his stay we saw that there were not enough nurses to attend to patients and we had to keep waiting for them. A single nurse had to look after many patients at a time,” said R. Deka.

Owing to the added load of patients, a nurse may not be able to devote sufficient time to all patients in a manner required of her. The hospital should have about 64-66 nurses. The premier cancer hospital treats over 45,000 cancer patients from the northeastern region every year. It receives about 8,000-10,000 new cases of cancer every year apart from the old patients who keep visiting for treatment.

“When I first got my uncle admitted, he was not in a position to walk to the third floor. So, we were looking for a stretcher to carry him. While the person at the reception told us where to get a stretcher, no ward boy came forward to carry him. To add to our woes, the lift was not working because the generator was on. We had to wait for about half-an-hour till the power supply was restored to carry him upstairs. The management of the hospital should take care of these things and ensure that patients are not hassled in this manner,” said Deka.

The hospital authorities have admitted to a shortage of nursing staff.

“Yes we are facing a shortage of nurses. We require about 63-65 nurses, but have a nursing staff of 49. We have already begun the process of recruiting additional nurses but had to stall it after the election code of conduct came into force. We will start it once the general elections are over,” said Amal Chandra Kataki, director of BBCI.

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