Lower doctor-to-patient ratio is a major cause for burnout among healthcare professionals

Deficit of 6 lakh doctors in India is alarming

Healthy Soch

New Delhi, April 16, 2019:

India has a shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses, say scientists who found that the lack of staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics is preventing patients from accessing live-saving drugs. Even when antibiotics are available, patients are often unable to afford them. High out-of-pocket medical costs to the patient are compounded by limited government spending for health services, according to the report by the U.S.-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP).

There is 1 government doctor for every 10,189 people (WHO recommends a ratio of 1:1000), or there is a deficit of 600,000 doctors, and the nurse-to-patient ratio is 1:483, implying a shortage of two million nurses.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “In India, there still exists a huge disparity between the number of patients and the primary care physicians. As a result, patients get less time with the doctors. Overcrowded OPDs means doctors end up attending to two or three patients at the same time. This can compromise the quality of care given and a loss of faith in the doctors as well. Indians also have a peculiar notion about who a good doctor is. There is a belief here that the best doctor is one who charges a lesser amount but is also available round the clock, which is not practical. Then there are also doctors who charge less in the hope of getting more patients. All of this leads to a shorter consultation time, because a doctor cannot keep working endlessly.”

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Burnout among doctors due to factors such as these is an important issue in healthcare and affects both the doctor and patients adversely. A doctor suffering this condition may lack empathy towards the patients or even have an impaired judgement.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The cases of burnout are likely higher in female doctors due to the demands at both work and home. The number of specialists is limited, and hence they are subjected to more working hours and the nature of the jobs is demanding. With such a punishing workload, they may also end up taking the blame if something goes wrong or even become frustrated with the changing work culture. Addressing the doctor-patient ratio in India is, therefore, an urgent need of the hour.”

Here are some tips for doctors to avoid a possible burnout.

  • Practice smart work scheduling
  • Start a hobby which will help you distract yourself from the regular workload
  • Make time for relaxing techniques such as yoga and meditation, as these will prove to be stressbusters.
  • Make time for family and friends
  • Delegate tasks and try to manage your time effectively.

healthysoch

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