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Scanner on medical college clinics

Calcutta, Nov. 7: Harassed by increasing complaints of negligence on the part of doctors in teaching hospitals, the government has introduced a double-barrel monitoring system.

The responsibility of overseeing patient care and treatment in the medical college hospitals will now be on both the director of health services and the director of medical education.

This, effectively, means Prabhakar Chatterjee, the health services director, will now have the additional responsibility of scanning patient care of teaching hospitals.

“Earlier, the superintendents of the medical college hospitals were helpless against allegations of negligence. The colleges being under the director of medical education, they could not refer complaints against teacher-doctors to the health services director,” said health secretary Asim Barman.

The hospital superintendents, a health official said, did not even have the authority to report against non-performing doctors to the director of medical education. He had to take a circuitous route through the principal of the college.

In the seven medical college hospitals, 7,000 doctors and 1,500 nurses worked under the control of the director of medical education. Till the new system was introduced, the role of the health services director was limited to looking after their pension, gratuity and leave encashment.

“A number of teacher-doctors is so obsessed with private practice that they cannot devote time to the out-patient department. Not even 2 per cent of them come to the hospital on an evening round,” said an official. He attributed the sorry state of affairs in the medical college hospitals to the “performance” of the teacher-doctors.

According to service conditions, teaching doctors should stay in the hospital from 9 am to 4 pm, but many of them don’t, the official added.

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