You are at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital waiting in a long queue for a token to see a doctor. After waiting for a few hours, you are told that the tokens for the day are finished. How would you feel? Well, patients are left disappointed due to the limited number of tokens given each day. However, hospital officials are hoping that long queues will reduce after moving the hospital’s dental department to Taba.
At the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, patients have been facing long waiting times and a shortage of tokens, leaving them frustrated and anxious.
To receive treatment, patients queue as early as 7 AM every day, even though hospital staff only begin issuing tokens at 9 AM.
The situation is worsened on Saturdays and Mondays when the waiting time doubles, according to hospital staff. This results in even longer queues and a greater likelihood of patients being turned away.
“After waiting for so long in line, the DeSuup on duty comes after 9 AM and says that the token is finished for the day, and they chase us. It is fine for the people residing nearby, but it is frustrating for people like us who come from far away. It would be better if they could inform us in advance,” said Sangay Wangchuk, a patient.
However, officials from the national referral hospital say people come early and wait, in the hope of getting treated early despite knowing the token issue.
Hospital officials have acknowledged that they are unable to predict the number of patients coming to the hospital each day, making it difficult to issue an appropriate number of tokens.
On the other hand, patients are offering suggestions to improve the hospital’s services and reduce waiting time.
“My suggestion is to make a different counter for the priority patients. We come here and stand in line from early morning, but when the priority people, who are over 65 arrive, we are asked to let them go ahead of us. It makes us wait longer, and sometimes we go back home without getting the token,” said Tika Bahadur Suberi.
According to officials, patients who do not have urgent medical needs may be able to receive a token on days other than Mondays and Saturdays.
The hospital officials are hoping moving the dental department to Taba will ease waiting times.
The hospital will be moving its dental department to Taba, where the COVID-19 hospital was previously stationed. The relocation is set to take place over the weekend, and the hospital is expected to resume full operations by the end of next month.