The report highlights patients waiting for long hours and doctors’ reporting late for duties
| Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu
Notwithstanding the achievements, the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) noted certain shortcomings and deficiencies in the administration of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Thimphu.
According to the RAA’s Performance and Audit Report (PAR) 2014 – 2015, the average waiting time for patients in medical Out Patient Department (OPD) is observed at an hour and 38 minutes while patients in general OPD are made to wait over 45 minutes. This is in direct contrast to standard 30 minutes waiting time for the patients mentioned in general medical guidelines.
The report further mentioned that some patients are made to wait in queue for more than two hours.
The study conducted by RAA had also found out that doctors on-duty in medical OPD chambers arrive late and leave as early as two hours before their scheduled time. “The erratic arrival and exit time of the doctors were attributed to multiple tasks assigned to the doctors on-duty, including administrative works,” the report states.
It mentioned in the report the doctors’ were also called for other services when they were engaged in OPD chambers, thereby affecting smooth delivery of consultation services and increasing the waiting time for the OPD patients.
Talking to The Journalist, Sangay Chhenzom, 25, said that every time she visits hospital to consult her doctor, she has to wait for almost half a day. “I have been diagnosed with a cardiac problem and long futile waits make me frustrated, and that leads to increasing heart beats,” she said.
Similarly, Tshering, a patient suffering from diabetic, said that it is very difficult for him wait for hours, especially after fasting for the whole night and waiting for hours to get sugar or blood tests.
“For a diabetic patient, it is very difficult to stay without eating for long hours as sugar level drops down, and when it does, it causes fatigue,” said Tshering.
A civil servant, Deki, said that it is not only in JDWNRH that patients have to wait for hours. “The case is similar in almost all the hospitals in Bhutan. And it is even more disheartening to see doctors misusing their authorities and being biased at treating patients. Many a times, I have seen doctors attending the patients whom they know or who are related to higher officials leaving behind the poor ones outside their chambers in pains,” she said.
Considering these lapses of JDWNRH, RAA made recommendation with an aim to enhance greater accountability, improved decision-making and efficiency in the delivery of healthcare services in the country.
RAA recommended that JDWNRH should institute proper control system to provide transparent, effective and faster delivery of health services and also to develop strategies to reduce waiting time in the OPD and diagnosis services.
The report also states that JDWNRH should conduct proper monitoring and evaluation of effective working hours of doctors and number of consultations provided by them.
Meanwhile, RAA had carried out the study with an objective to ascertain the turnaround time, the adequacy and optimal utilization of human resource and equipment and also to assess the existence and effectiveness of supervision and monitoring mechanism in delivery of OPD services.