It’s a well-known fact that AIl India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Delhi attends a very large number of patients in comparison to other hospitals and medical colleges. The pressure of work over the staff and doctors are so immense that the stress leads to many complications. But in last one week, 5 Doctors have been admitted to the Psychiatry Ward of the institute over mental health issues including a case of attempted suicide.   A junior doctor from anaesthesia department tried to end his life last week but saved by fellow doctors.

 Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti, president of Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) at AIIMS, approached the institute’s director, Dr. Randeep Guleria and had demanded healthy environment at the workplace. He had also demanded that the administration appoints counselors who can help doctors in need, also there must be a helpline. The doctors further alleged that the demands were not fulfilled.

“For a very long time, we have been demanding counsellors and one helpline number where we can share our problems but these demands have not been fulfilled. Also, there is a serious problem of lack of hostels on the campus. After working long hours, when doctors visit their rented accommodation outside the AIIMS, there is a feeling of loneliness. Here inside the campus, at least we can sit together and talk with others after work,” said Dr. Bhatti as per told to a leading daily.

Hostels at AIIMS are ready to move in, but the doctors were not shifted there, the sources at AIIMS said. Without being identified, a senior professor of psychiatry department told “I myself have seen and admitted at least two doctors in the past two weeks. One of them has been discharged now and the rest are being treated. There could be many issues such as lifestyle, work stress factor, acceptance from the administration, cultural issues, sexual, depression, and anxiety.”

Burnout among doctors has been a well-researched subject in the West, but there are few studies on the topic in India. Last year in a study done by Dr Pranav Modi and Amit Gharpure, Around 500 doctors responded to a 25-point questionnaire and came up with answers that spoke of lack of development (“My work doesn’t offer me opportunities to develop my abilities”), overload (“I overlook my own needs to fulfill work demands”) or neglect (“When things at work don’t turn out as well as they should, I stop trying”).

The study said, “Almost 45% of the respondents scored high on emotional exhaustion and 66% suffered from depersonalization (lack of empathy for patients).” But the reasons are not very alien – The study’s author Dr Gharpure said, “Some of my colleagues used to work for 34 hours at a stretch. It is not surprising that we hear instances of doctors snapping at patients because they are stretched.”

Medical Reporter Opinion – As we know that AIIMS is one of the leading medical colleges of the country such reports actually got noticed in the media but this is not an unknown phenomenon among the countrywide medical colleges. The pressure of studies, workloads and a list of other issues are there since always. It’s a high time that government start taking it seriously as the health of a healthcare worker is equally important!

 

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