Conducting survey after staff adjustment creates problems in health facilitiesOfficials say additional posts are being created for those who have political connections.
Kirtipur Municipality on Tuesday sent back two doctors, transferred by the Ministry of Health and Population Bishnu Devi Hospital, as the municipal-run hospital already has four doctors, which is more than what the hospital needs.
"We sent the doctors back because we already have more than enough doctors," Dhurbaraj Acharya, chief executive officer of the municipality, told the Post. The hospital needs only two doctors.
The Ministry of Health and Population has transferred doctors and health workers to several health facilities in Kathmandu Valley, even to those health facilities that already have enough staff. Concerned health facilities say that unplanned transfer of health professionals has created confusion.
Following the concerns raised by several health facilities, the ministry is currently conducting an organisation and management survey. But some health professionals are not convinced.
The survey, according to them, is aimed at adjusting staff at health facilities at accessible areas like Kathmandu Valley.
"We learned that the Department of Health Services had transferred four more doctors to our hospital, but we could not accommodate them," Acharya said. "Doctors should be deployed proportionally since a lot of health facilities lack doctors."
Many health workers wish to work in areas that are easily accessible, including Kathmandu Valley, and some of them are using their political connections to secure convenient postings, according to some officials at the health ministry.
Several health facilities in remote regions of the country lack doctors and health workers, which has forced patients to seek treatment in big cities. In some places, a transfer of trained staff and specialist doctors has led to the closure of medical services, including cesarean delivery.
The Health Ministry has been accused of transferring doctors and other medical staff on an ad hoc basis.
"While other ministries carry out the organisation and management survey before transferring staff, the health ministry is doing the opposite," said Jagat Nepali, a senior health assistant.
The Provincial Health Office in Kathmandu said that the number of health workers had increased in some health facilities, as the Health Ministry halted the transfer of serving staffers due to the dengue epidemic.
"The doctors and health workers transferred to Kathmandu Valley from other districts have joined their new jobs, but those who have been transferred have not left," said Indira Pandey, an official serving at the Provincial Health Office.
Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, the spokesperson for the health ministry, said the organisation and management survey was essential to determine the health worker’s requirements in health facilities.
"It would have been better had we carried out the study before the adjustment," Shrestha said. "We could not do it earlier because there was a rush to fill the vacant positions.”
According to him, doctors and health workers who have been turned back from their new postings would be adjusted by creating new posts in health facilities that lack staff.