Prime Minister (Dr) Lotay Tshering announced any person needing immediate medical care or a pregnant mother near her term will be allowed to go to hospital driving their own vehicle, if they do not want to wait for the hospital vehicle or ambulance or if the case is emergency.
Pregnant mothers or those who have to vaccinate their children can carry their Mother and Child Health Book (MCH) and the health book would serve as a movement permit card during lockdown and similarly even chronic patients can carry their prescription.
Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said if people are misusing the MCH card to do some personal work then it will be a problem. Minister requested people to use the MCH card wisely.
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) is starting telephonic consultation services where each department has two telephone numbers. They will provide consultation and once they are done with a doctor’s consultation, if a patient requires admission, JDWNRH will send a message and a patient has to show the message received from the hospital to police and the patient can travel in their own car and if a patient does not have their own car, then the hospital will facilitate to pick up the patient from home.
If a patient has regular dialysis scheduled on a set date and do not have a vehicle, the hospital will facilitate it. “We are requesting public to use their own vehicle if they have. We have limited vehicles but if a patient has a vehicle and prescription then they can use their own vehicle.”
Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pemba said due to less number of vehicles, the hospital is not able to deliver medicines or pick and drop patients on time. Sometimes, it goes up till 8 pm to 9pm. He said ideally two vehicles are needed, one for North Thimphu and another of South Thimphu but currently only one vehicle is used. Although the hospital has vehicles but it is not enough. Ambulance is only for serious patients.
“We cannot cover every body and there might be few cases where we must have missed it. We have to cover as per the seriousness of the case as well as the how genuine it is,” he said.
The health minister agreed on the vehicle issue faced by JDWNRH. However, the government has deployed three extra pool vehicles for patients’ movement. Also the primary health care centers are open, so it will ease JDWNRH workload.