Mumbai: It is normal for a patient in a civic hospital to have at least half-a-dozen visitors at a time. This situation routinely creates chaos in civic hospitals which are already cramped for space.
Such crowding causes delay in treating the patient and when something goes wrong, the patient's kin attack the doctor, who is usually an overworked, underpaid resident doctor.
To end this chaos and stop attacks on doctors, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) health committee has asked the civic chief, Praveen Pardeshi, to formulate a policy.
Such a move, it is felt, will help decongest hospital wards, which is usually crowded with visiting relatives who seldom follow the instructions and rules of the hospitals.
Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean, Nair hospital and the medical director of civic-run hospitals said, recently, a circular had been issued by the municipal commissioner, directing health officials to formulate rules on how many relatives should be allowed by the patient's bedside in the hospital.
"Earlier, it was decided to allow one or two relatives, but it was learnt that rules were not followed and the hospital administration was unable to implement it. This causes immense trouble to the doctors who are treating patients. That is why the municipality has taken this decision," he said.
Civic officials said they were taking suggestions from health officials in hospitals to formulate rules. For now, they have decided to allow one or two relatives with patients, if needed.
"As per the rules, only one relative will be allowed to stay with patients in municipal hospitals, starting next month. In addition, if a patient is in intensive care, two relatives will be allowed if needed.
Also, there are plans to recruit retired defence personnel for security in hospitals," added Bharmal. However, it will take a month or more to complete the arrangements and appointments," said the civic official.