Chandigarh, June 22 (IANS) Amid escalating Covid cases in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday sanctioned 300 ad-hoc posts in the Medical Education Department, 100 in each in the three government-run medial colleges, to handle the critical patients.
The Chief Minister's directives came after K.K. Talwar, the state government's health advisor and former PGI director, said 100 staff members, mainly senior resident doctors and assistant professors, were required to be on-board by the Medical Education Department in each medical college on an urgent basis to handle the critical Covid patients.
Responding to Talwar's submission on the staff requirement, the Chief Minister sanctioned these 300 posts, directing the department to make ad hoc appointments by hiring graduating students as Senior Residents.
These appointments could be subject to their clearance of exams later, he suggested, adding that for assistant professors, walk-in selections could be considered to overcome the immediate shortfall.
The Chief Minister issued the directives during a video conference meeting to review the Covid situation in the state.
Disclosing that approval had already been given to the Health Department to fill 6,000 vacancies at various positions, Amarinder Singh asked the department to expedite the recruitment process at all levels, including doctors, especially anaesthetists, nurses, lab technicians and ward boys, among others.
Earlier, in his detailed presentation, Talwar said that government medical colleges and district hospitals with Level III facility needed to be quickly filled up with Senior Residents and Junior Faculty in anaesthesia, medicine and any required discipline for Covid.
He also suggested short exposure of all junior faculties in Covid ICU in PGI or AIIMS for hands-on experience, which the Chief Minister accepted.
Amarinder Singh also accepted the suggestion that one faculty member from anaesthesia or critical care should be on round-the-clock duty to give best possible care to sick patients in the ICU.
With the pandemic peaking in the state and projections grim for the coming weeks, the Chief Minister also directed the Health and Medical Education Departments to ensure thatA samples of symptomatic cases are taken on priority and all Covid tests reports are submitted within 12 hours.
Pointing out that delay could prove costly in positive cases, he also urged people to dial 104 at the first sign of symptoms or concern.
Expressing concern over reports of mortality rising due to delay in many cases, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to take all steps to spread awareness among the citizens on the need for timely intervention.
Amarinder Singh further asked the Health Department to streamline the process of collecting and updating information on Covid patients, including from private hospitals.
He also directed the department to engage closely with the private hospitals to bring them on board the state's Covid fight more actively.
The Chief Minister was informed that as per an assessment of the Department of Medical Education and Research, 92 private hospitals in the state had already agreed to provide Covid care facility.
The Chief Minister asked the department to go in for aggressive testing, exhaustive contact tracing, treatment and active surveillance in the micro-containment areas.
He also underlined the need to boost sample collection across the state, which had, till June 21 tested 239,995 samples.
As on Sunday, Punjab had 1,276 active cases, with five on ventilator support and 21 on oxygen support, and 99 lives lost to the coronavirus.