KATHMANDU, Sept 27: Dr Paban Sharma, director of Patan Hospital, has been serving at the hospital for the past 20 years. Never once during his long stint at the hospital he has signed in the attendance register and the hospital hasn´t pressed him to.
But it is not that the rule has been relaxed for Dr Sharma because he holds a high post. Contrary to what is the norm at almost all hospitals, none of the employees of Patan Hospital are required to sign in attendance.
The hospital simply does not have any system for maintaining attendance of its employees.
According to Dr Sharma, administrative system of the hospital is guided by the legacy left behind by the Christian missionaries who established it. They have established such a system that maintaining attendance is not required.
Despite such a system, the hospital is self-sustained and has never sought government assistance for any purpose. Moreover, the hospital provides treatment worth Rs 10 million to poor and needy patients free of cost every year.
“All the employees working at the hospital understand that we have to earn to be sustainable and are honest toward their duties,” said Dr Sharma. “All the staffers feel the ownership of the hospital and do their jobs diligently.”
Dr Sharma said he reaches the hospital before 8 am in the morning, as do all other senior doctors. “When senior doctors reach the hospital before 8 am, juniors have a moral obligation to arrive earlier than their seniors,” he added.
Dil Bahadur Bhandari of the administration said that he has been serving at the hospital for the past 18 years and said that he has never had to conduct attendance during his service period.
The work at the hospital is so divided that no employee can escape their duty without being noticed.
“If anyone needs leave, he has to notify his immediate boss who then finds a replacement staff,” he said, adding, “But important thing is that the employees are self motivated.” Bhandari said that he does not know a single staff who has had to face action for escaping duty.
Doctors working at the hospital do not have worry about seeing the patients at private clinics for additional income. The hospital itself has provided facilities to the doctors from where they can offer private services and make additional money.
After their regular duty hour is over, the doctors work in the private clinics run by the hospital. Patients have to pay more for the service at the private clinics and doctors get 60 percent of the fees. Lots of people come to the hospital seeking private service and doctors do not have to worry for patients.
When most government hospitals in the capital are struggling to hold the doctors up to their duty hours, Patan Hospital is free of such problem.
The doctors serving at government hospitals run to private clinics and nursing homes even during their duty hours.
Bir Hospital, the national referral center, said that more than 60 percent of its employees do not stay at the hospital after 2pm. Staffers working at the hospital get additional 50 percent of their salary in allowances if they stay till 5pm. But the director of the hospital conceded that providing additional allowance to the employees was useless as no one stays up to 5pm.
Dr Sharma, director of the Patan Hospital, said that the hospital could be a role model in terms of hospital management. “Change is possible, if everyone acts responsibly,” he said.