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Govt relief for shunned patients

Calcutta, Jan. 29: The government today unveiled plans to rehabilitate patients at asylums in the state who have not been taken back by relatives and couldn’t be returned home as the addresses provided by their kin were fake.

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said at Writers’ Buildings there are 241 such patients, many of them in the hospitals for the past five to 10 years.

Most of these patients are lodged in Lumbini Park, Pavlov Mental Hospital, Institute for Mental Care and Institute for Psychiatry in Calcutta. There are about 48 patients in Behrampore Mental Hospital and 10 at the drug-addiction centre at Bankura Medical College and Hospital.

Some of the patients were referred from Rimpus Mental Hospital, Ranchi. Health department sources said these patients were sent back to Bengal as their family members disappeared after they were admitted.

“We will rehabilitate them with help from the social welfare department, NGOs and the Centre,” said Chatterjee. The 200-bed Lumbini Park Mental Hospital in Gobra will be converted into a full-fledged rehabilitation centre.

“Patients from Lumbini Park will be shifted to Pavlov, where the number of beds will be increased from 250 to 450.”

Chatterjee said help was being sought from NGOs to counsel and persuade the families of mentally ill patients in the state-run mental hospitals to take them back once they were cured. “We will request the social welfare department to provide space for the elderly patients at old-age homes,” he added.

“We are trying to find out whether providing false addresses of mental patients can be made punishable by law,” said a health official.

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