Patients’ rights or workers’ rights? | Daily News

Patients’ rights or workers’ rights?

Usually trade unionists or any concerned citizen should fight and stand by the people and not for the culprits and wrong-doers. But unfortunately, last week the entire country saw how the culprits openly fought for the rights of the culprits and wrong-doers.

The culprits and wrong-doers need to be dealt with in accordance with the country’s relevant laws and regulations. Priority should be given to the welfare of the innocent poor patients who obtain medical treatment from State hospitals free of charge. It is these patients that need to be protected and not the minor employees who ill-treat such patients.

We are talking about drug addicted minor employees and all others who treat the poor patients at State hospitals with utter disdain.

The country knows that the rich and middle class people seek medical treatment at private hospitals where they can convalesce in safety and with security. Some of these popular private hospitals even provide safety lockers to keep the valuable belongings of their patients. But this is not the case with State hospitals.

It is the poor segment of society which patronizes the State hospitals. These poor patients do not possess valuable belongings such as gold jewellery, expensive wrist watches and vast amounts of cash etc.

They have ordinary stuff like flasks, small wallets with a few hundreds of rupees, an ordinary mobile phone etc. But they need to keep them safely while receiving medical treatment at State hospitals.

According to various incidents reported through the media recently, it seems now that the poor patients cannot keep their belongings safely while receiving treatment at State hospitals because certain drug addicted minor employees are in the habit of stealing them. This has been happening for a long time and it is not something new.

All issues should be solved and all questions should be answered. Here there is one issue. That is how to ensure the safety of the valuables of the poor patients seeking treatment at State hospitals.

Since people do not have money and cannot afford the costs at Private hospitals, a large number of people prefer to obtain medical treatment at State hospitals.

Hospital authorities can do one of the following few simple things to solve this issue. They can ask patients to send their valuable items home as soon as they get admitted and keep only the required personal items. But still the patients need to keep flasks, a mobile phone etc. with them. The other solution is keeping valuables in one particular place with adequate security. The last thing is appointing a minor employee or two to look after the valuables and holding them responsible for any items that go missing or are stolen. This is a very simple issue that can be solved quickly without much cost to the authorities.

It is very interesting to see the background of the minor employees attached to State hospitals. Some of them are addicted to drugs and are users of the drug ‘ICE’. In addition there are minor employees who supply illicit drugs for addicts inside hospitals. They can be minor employees and some male patients!

Often it is the family members, relatives or friends of patients who push the wheel-chair, trolley or even the bed of the patient from one department to another, from the theatre to the ward, to and from the X-ray room etc. Minor employees are also in the habit of chewing betel and spitting everywhere.

This situation is plain to see for anyone visiting the NHSL today. The employees in this section most of the time are involved in idle chatter with one another or holding ‘mini meetings’ rather than looking after the needs of patients.

They never offer recommended food to patients and chase away innocent poor patients who come and inquire about their ‘special diets’ recommended by their Consultants.

They offer those diets only for their favourite patients who ‘look after’ their interests. But one thing can make these devils into gods within seconds. That is by bribing them by slipping a Rs. 500 note into their pocket once in a while during the stay.

These minor employees do not carry out the orders given to them by their higher authorities. Some higher authorities are scared to order them to do their official work! The reason being is that some of the minor employees are supporters and appointees of ‘VVIPs’ appointed to those positions by various Health Ministers by past Governments.

Various Health Ministers connected to former regimes appointed their supporters as minor employees. Therefore, those minor employees have political clout and political affiliations.

This is the situation that has prevailed in the country’s Health System and the Health Ministry since Independence. The ordinary people of this country expect these things to change through a ‘system change’ and they are not expecting to change Heads or Governments. But unfortunately the people demand these things only when they talk freely with the other people and not through gatherings at Galle Face or by killing politicians, burning their houses and pushing supporters of various politicians into lakes etc.

All minor employees in the Health Sector should be made to perform their official duties to the letter. They should be given proper training and especially recruited only through examinations and not through the letters issued by politicians. 

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