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Dysfunctional referral system creates anarchy in medical services

11 August 2022

Reza Mahmud :
Anarchy  has been created in the field of medical services due to absence of a functional referral system, experts said.
They said patients rush to the renowned hospitals in Dhaka, especially in government medical facilities everyday to get better treatment from outside of the capital city.
As a result, seriously sick patients, in most cases, failed to get medical treatment in due time, experts explained.
They said in case of normal illness, thousands of people used to come to the capital Dhaka for receiving medical treatment which was possible in a local hospital.
Meanwhile, many seriously sick persons tried and failed to get emergency medical treatment due to such rush of average patients.    "I have brought my elderly uncle to Dhaka for medical treatment for his serious condition. But we failed to visit any doctor in several government hospitals for last two days due to huge rush there," Atikul Islam, nephew of the patients aged over 70 told The New Nation.
He said that they want to visit a doctor for assessing his uncle's preliminary needs of medical treatment and then, in case of necessity, they would admit him in hospital.
Atikul Islam said, he gathered bitter experiences in these two days about necessity of a proper referral system.
"I have seen that many serious patients failed to visit doctors while comparatively less sick ones consulted physicians as they came first," Atik said.
The others people, who brought their relatives from different districts also expressed the similar bitter experiences.
 They said that the common scenario was found in most government hospitals like, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka Medical College Hospital and such others.
The sufferers said that it is not only in case of visiting physicians but also for in cases of medical tests also as huge rush are creating anarchies.
Public health experts said that a proper referral system is very much necessary for rendering adequate medical treatment in a highly densely populated country.
When contacted, Professor Dr. M. Muzaherul Huq, former Advisor of World Health Organisation told The New Nation, "It is necessary to make a proper referral system functional for avoiding patients suffering and harassments while they are seeking medical treatment."
Firstly, a patient have to go to his local upazila hospital for visiting a doctor. In case of necessary, the physicians would refer him to district level hospitals.
If the patients' sickness is more serious so that it is needed to send him to Dhaka or other city's higher medical facilities then those doctors have to refer them for such.
"Following such a referral system, it would be easy to curb anarchies in medical treatment to the emergency patients easily," Professor Dr. Muzaherul Huq said.
When contacted, Professor Dr. Robed Amin, spokesperson of the Directorate General of the Health Services (DGHS) told The New Nation on Wednesday, "There is no functional referral system in our country right now."
The DGHS spokesman said that there was a referral system in the country which becomes dysfunctional day by day.
Professor Robed Amin said that the DGHS has taken an initiative to prepare a functional referral system.
He said that medical officials of different medical facilities including upazila hospitals have been given responsibilities to prepare an adequate referral system.

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