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4 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Service at govt health FACILITIES

Complaints pour in at DGHS hotline

MD HABIBULLA, Dhaka
Complaints pour in at DGHS hotline

Hundreds of complaints have been lodged on the government's "Shastho Batayon" hotline, mainly against doctors and other healthcare professionals, for negligence of duty and being absent from the workplace. Data obtained from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) shows utter negligence and irresponsibility by health professionals in the last few years.  

Since 2016, the DGHS has been running the "Shastho Batayon’ hotline (16263), where a healthcare consumer can get health services and also can lodge complaints. In the last three years, the largest percentage of complaints (20.53) was lodged in the “negligence of responsibility” category. The second largest (12.06 per cent) was made against doctors about their absence from the workplace.

However, about eight per cent people commented about the good performance of the hospital

authorities.

The other categories include poor maintenance, corruption and transparency, poor service, cleanliness, and attitude and behavior.

According to the DGHS data, in January, 578 complaints were lodged on "Shastho Batayon" about different issues related to the health service, while over 500 people complained by sending SMS (short message service).  

Till February 24, about 559 complaints were lodged from across the country.

In 2018, a total of 8,852 complaints were lodged from across the country, while about 8,607 complaints were lodged in 2017. About 3,103 complaints were lodged in 2016.

The data said, in 69 per cent of the cases, the DGHS spoke to the complaint sender and the hospital authorities concerned to resolve the problem. In 49 per cent of the cases, the authorities said action would be taken soon.    

The Independent read some of the complaints made on the website:

“Doctor is never available in serious cases”; “My mother had a serious head injury in the evening and doctor came the next morning”; “This hospital prescribes the same medicine for all ailments. Neglecting work, they play ludo. The government should pay attention to this”.

The DGHS replied in their website that the problems would be solved soon.

The Independent could not verify whether the complaints had been looked into, as the identity of the complainer was not mentioned.  

Recently Talking to The Independent Health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque said: “To monitor the complaints, we have formed a monitoring cell to contact the authorities concerned to solve the problems. To avoid complaints like attitude and behavior, negligence to responsibility, we are going to introduce a training programme for all hospital staff and nurses. After getting complaints on the hotline, we immediately contact the hospital authorities concerned and also the complainers to verify the complaint. We have solved various problems. Hopefully, the complaints about the health services will decrease soon.”    

About the absence of doctors in the hospitals, the minister said the problem has been created because of shortage of doctors. “To overcome the crisis, we have directed all authorities concerned to have at least six doctors at a time in all hospitals.”  He also said that the government will recruit 5,000 physicians in March and April to minimise the shortage of physicians across the country.

“The government will appoint 10,000 physicians for overcoming the shortage of doctors,” he added.

The director general of the DGHS, Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, said: “We have instructed officials to take immediate steps through the hospital authorities if anyone lodges complaints.”

On January 21, in a surprise visit to 11 government hospitals and health complexes in eight districts, including Dhaka, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found 92 doctors out of a total of 230 absent from their workplaces.  

The ACC high-up said they (the doctors) were absent because they were busy with their private practice.

After the action of the ACC, on February 5, a writ petition was filed before the High Court, seeking its directive on the government to take steps to stop private practice by government-appointed doctors.

On February 12, the HC directed the government to form an independent medical commission to frame a guideline for state-appointed doctors involved in private practice. 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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