The flower pots have been ordered and the library has been stashed with borrowed books. And departments have been “shifted” from one institution to another. The occasion: the inspection of the University College of Medicine (UCM) — and SSKM Hospital — by the Medical Council of India (MCI), likely over the next two days. On it hinges the possibility of extra under-graduate seats at the UCM that will, in turn, help the state government implement its decision to sell medical education for a million rupees without disturbing the 900-plus berths, to which merit is the only key.
The MCI team, according to the plan chalked out on Wednesday, will visit the third and fourth floors of the emergency building of SSKM Hospital to check what the pathology department there has to offer. But with the authorities here not very sure whether the existing state of the SSKM department will please the MCI team, they have “uprooted” the pathology department of the UCM to give its SSKM counterpart a healthier look.
This, however, has left the UCM department without any equipment to show. UCM teachers said on Wednesday that the decision to “help” SSKM by robbing UCM may eventually backfire if the MCI team left with a very dim idea of UCM infrastructure. “Our in-house pathology department is now empty,” a UCM official said, adding that the shift of equipment occurred on Tuesday (48 hours before the inspection).
Another transfer has been of books. From the central library of the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research, books have been shifted to the departmental libraries of the UCM, say officials, to make it look less empty.
Learning from experience barely two months ago, when the MCI blasted the acute space crunch at the anatomy and the physiology wings of the UCM, the authorities have broken walls to make more space. SSKM surgeon superintendent Deb Dwaipayan Chattopadhyay retorted: “What is there to decorate' We are renovating the department to accommodate more students in each class.”
Hectic lobbying is on for the additional medical seats, with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra requesting Union health minister Sushma Swaraj last Saturday to personally see that Bengal does get the MCI nod this time around.