Critical shortage of doctors in defence hospitals: CAG

New Delhi: The medical arm of the defence services on Friday came in for criticism by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) over "critical shortage" of medical officers which is likely to impact patient care.

"There was an overall shortage of 12 per cent medical officers in the hospitals under the Director General Armed Forces Medical Services...Even among the Command and Specialist hospitals, the posted strength varied from minus 25 per cent in Udhampur to plus 93 per cent in R and R Hospital in Delhi," the report said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General`s report on medical establishments in defence services was tabled in Parliament on Friday. The cumulative deficiencies in field, peripheral, mid-zonal and zonal hospitals and surpluses in tertiary care units are indicative of the non-rationalisation in posting of medical officers against authorisation, it said.

The government auditor observed that there was a deficiency of 298 specialist doctors in the armed forces against the authorised strength of 2217 such doctors. "During 2006 to 2010, 190 specialists had left the Services on grounds of super session in service. Maximum attrition of specialists had taken place in those disciplines where deficiencies already existed," the report said.

The report also pointed out that local procurement of drugs was being done in these hospitals at "inexplicably varying rates". "Inexplicable wide variations in rates of procurement by different hospitals in respect of common drugs were prevalent. For example, for Diegene antacid gel, the rates varied from Rs 9.50 per bottle to Rs 41.50," it said.