Five specialized public hospitals in the capital will soon open evening shift outpatient departments (OPD) for the convenience of patients and their attendants who face difficulties in seeking OPD treatment in the morning. The service would also significantly increase access to tertiary healthcare.
The proposed service titled, ‘institutional practice’ will be introduced in all government hospitals and health complexes across the country as per the directive of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Professor Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of health services told Bangladesh Post, “The evening shift of OPD would indeed greatly benefit patients and of course the attending doctors and his support staff. Those who cannot afford to spare time in the morning due to official engagement can now consider seeking treatment in the evenin.”
He said, “We have not yet fixed the time and date of the service but hope it would be pretty soon.” These specialised public hospitals are; National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hospital, National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital, National Institute of Neuroscience and Hospital, National Institute of Kidney Diseases and Urology and National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation.
Besides, the evening outdoor departments will also be opened at all government medical colleges, district hospitals and upazila health complexes across the country in phases. On November 12, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an order in this regard. This healthcare service has been opened according to the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Poor patients will get medical facilities once the service is launched across the country. In case of institutional practice, doctors will get 80 percent money and hospital authority will get the rest.
Director of National Eye Science Institute and Hospital Professor Dr Golam Mostafa said, “All facilities of eye treatment are available in this hospital. We are ready to start institutional practice.” Joint-director of Neurosciences Institute Dr Badrul Alam said, “The institute has fewer bed than required. Many serious patients come to emergency department from remote areas in the evening. But, we cannot admit them due to lack of bed in the hospital. If evening department open, those patients will be benefited. And the sufferings of patients regarding admission will reduce to a great extent. Besides, the patients, whom do not need to admit, would go home on taking prescription from expert doctors.
It was known diagnostics tests are available in government hospitals. Despite this a section of dishonest doctors refer patients to private diagnostics centres for pathological tests in order to get commission. Many poor patients suffer much for bearing the extra cost of pathology tests of private medical.
Experts say, if physicians are sincere, it is possible to get desired outcome from the evening outdoor departments services across the country. Especially, district and upazila level patients will be benefitted through such initiatives. The cost for treatment of the patients will also reduce. Poor patients, who come with serious complaints, do not have to go back without treatment. They can get the services of specialist doctors directly at the government hospital. At the same time, there will be no complaint of absence of any physician in the government hospital.
The evening OPD services will be gradually introduced at the district and upazila level. It is alleged that the presence of physicians in the hospitals of the district and the upazila is not always a satisfactory. Absence of physicians, especially in upazila hospitals, is very common. Patients are compelled to seek treatment elsewhere, especially at private hospitals.