Chennai’s hospitals make arrangements to transport staff, some face trouble

Some hospital authorities said the police did not allow some of their staff members to travel

Doctors, nurses and paramedics are essential service providers. Many government hospitals have arranged transportation to ensure their staff reach the hospitals during the lockdown, but there have been instances in which hospital workers were stopped by police across the city, as a result of which they were not able to get to work.

At one of the city hospitals, at least 50% of the staff that included laboratory technicians, conservancy workers and other hospital workers could not turn up for duty. “They were stopped by the police in several places. Though they displayed their ID cards, the police told some of them that there is no point in a lockdown if they move around like this. Our doctors and nurses were able to reach the hospital in the morning,” a senior doctor said. In the absence of many conservancy workers, the hospital had to make arrangements locally for cleaning measures, he added.

Another government hospital made arrangements to send its own vehicles to bring staff including conservancy workers. “The vehicles made two to three trips to bring them to the hospital as we had to follow physical distancing inside the vehicle too. We asked our doctors to carpool,” an authority said.

The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital arranged for several to ply on four different routes to bring in their healthcare personnel. They had obtained special permission to transport their staff during the lockdown, officials said.

Another hospital authority said on the first day of the lockdown, the hospital’s office had issued letters mentioning that the staff were involved in management of coronavirus disease. “But the letters were not accepted by the police on the second day. So, we have issued letters for 15 days. We have also issued vehicle passes for all our staff including contract workers,” the authority added.

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