Almost every person standing in queue to see the doctors in the Phuentsholing general hospital has got a complaint. It is tiring and time consuming.

From getting a prescription slip to getting the medicines, it takes more than two hours, sometimes even more than three hours.

A cab driver, Bir Man Rai, said something must be done. “It is standing all day long. It is difficult for the sick and old.”

Bir Man Rai said that his half-day got wasted. He had gone to the hospital at 10am yesterday and by the time he received the medicines, it was past 1pm.

Another man, Jigme Drukpa, who had come from Pasakha, said that although emergency unit is there, only patients who require emergency support go there. “Others have to stand in queue.”

Jigme Dukpa had brought his two-year-old son to hospital. He said that although he does not visit the hospital often, waiting for long hours is frustrating.

During weekends and holidays, the situation is worse.

A government employee, Rebeka Thapa, said that although pregnant women do not have to see a doctor for regular blood tests, they still have to wait in the queue.

Another civil servant, Thinley Wangmo, said that change is necessary.

Phuentsholing is one of the most populated towns in the country. Along with the Bhutanese, people from across the border come for emergency services.

There are only five general doctors in the hospital. With one doctor required to stay on call duty, only four are available most of the time. A doctor on call duty has to attend to casualty and ward cases.

A month ago, two doctors from the hospital left for further studies. In June, another doctor will leave. On a daily basis, about three doctors also have to tend to the labourers for medical clearance.

More than 300 labourers are cleared in a day.

The hospital in Phuentsholing has just one gynecologist.

Budhi Maya Rai said: “I am an asthma patient.”

She and others in the queue suggested a token system.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing