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State readies pill for healthcare cure

The state government on Saturday rolled out a healthcare improvement package for the city’s government-run hospitals. From bio-medical waste removal service to a state-of-the-art dumping facility in Howrah, a hotline service between city hospitals and a tele-medicine network connecting city hospitals and district health centres, the package includes remedies to cope with patient pressure and the key to better management.

In a meeting attended by hospital superintendents of all medical colleges and health administration officials, minister Surjya Kanta Mishra announced that a Hyderabad-based company, which has set up a special waste disposal facility in Howrah, will pick up all the “infectious” bio-medical waste from the city hospitals and take it to the Howrah dumping facility from March.

For the past few years, the Pollution Control Board (PCB) and several voluntary organisations have been harping on the fact that bio-medical waste was resulting in the outbreak of diseases and secondary infection among patients in government hospitals.

Apart from a few Howrah-based hospitals, no institute was using the dumping yard so far. Over the past few years, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation was picking up the non-infectious bio-medical waste, mainly empty saline bottles, syringes and other consumable gadgets from city hospitals. It will continue to do so, said a hospital superintendent.

The government has also decided to set up a hotline service connecting all the city hospitals. The hotline will be used to exchange notes about bed vacancies and case referrals. In the past, hospital authorities have been criticised for not following the referral protocol, specially informing the hospital about the status of a patient who was being referred there. The government also has plans of opening a control room to check patient inflow and referrals.

A decision in this regard was taken after a string of incidents involving patient refusals and referrals from one government hospital to another without any intimation. For instance, Shabana, the infant who died on the way, was referred from Howrah State General Hospital to Medical College and Hospital without any intimation to hospital authorities.

This apart, the government has decided to start a tele-medicine network at Nilratan Sircar and SSKM hospitals, where patients from health centres in the district would be able to speak to doctors in city hospitals about their ailments.

The tele-medicine network will start functioning at NRS Hospital from January 30, while the one at SSKM Hospital will start later.

“This is the best thing that could have happened in terms of modernisation,” said the superintendent, who was present in the meeting.

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