Polonnaruwa Nephrology Hospital Severely Understaffed

By Dilanthi Jayamanne | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 27 2021
News Polonnaruwa Nephrology  Hospital Severely Understaffed

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Doctors urged the Health Ministry to urgently provide the fully-equipped National Nephrology Specialised Hospital (NNSH), Polonnaruwa with the required human resources for patients to be able to obtain maximum service.  

Executive Committee Member of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (Ex-Co GMOA), Dr. Prasad Ranaweera, on Friday (26) said the approved cadre for the Hospital totalled 247. The Hospital, constructed as a donation of the Chinese Government, following a request made by former President Maithripala Sirisena, had cost 

Rs 12 billion. With the unfortunate situation of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu), especially concentrated in North-Central Province.

“It is regrettable that completed and inaugurated over five months ago, the hospital remains highly understaffed and unable to provide its services to the fullest,” he lamented. 

Dr. Ranaweera, when contacted, said the initial trouble with the renal care facility was the lack of a full-time Director. Currently, the hospital functions under the administrative purview of the Director of District General Hospital, Polonnaruwa, who also happens to be the Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) for Polonnaruwa. Already overwhelmed with duties, it is humanly impossible to pay attention to such a vast hospital, as the NNSH has a bed capacity of 200, a 100-bed dialysis unit, and six modern surgical theatres.

Currently, 2,550 such patients are registered with the NNSH. Clinics are conducted on all five days of the week, while currently each clinic attends to 200 patients. 

Unfortunately, the number of medical officers and consultants available are adequate only to run 30 of its dialysis beds, while 70 more remain unused owing to the lack of staff. 250 of the patients are on Haemodialysis at present, while the hospital staff have no option, but to conduct dialysis in three shifts (morning session 35, evening 35, and night 15) owing to the shortage of medical officers. “There are only eight medical officers permanently available, assisted by a total of 14 Registered House Officers (RHO) who would leave once they received their post-intern appointments. The cadre shortage for medical officers is 50. 

Also, there is a requirement for at least 10 consultants, inclusive of surgeons, anaesthetists, transplant surgeons, radiologists and microbiologists to enable the hospital to function to its fullest. Also, there is cadre approval for 100 nurses, eight nursing sisters or masters, and two matrons, six radiographers, and 10 medical laboratory technologists (MLT) and 12 pharmacists, he said, giving a breakdown of some of the required staff.   

Dr. Ranaweera lamented that some of the high-tech equipment available had not even been removed from their packing, while the warranty period of some of those equipment was nearing expiry. He said the available facilities at the hospital surpassed those of any private sector facility, but unfortunately the lack of cadre crippled its functions. 

By Dilanthi Jayamanne | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 27 2021

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