The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Post-Puja floors bonanza for BC Roy

Calcutta, Oct. 9: Three newborn babies are crammed in a cot, two others share one oxygen tube ' this is the scene that usually greets visitors to Bengal's biggest paediatric referral hospital. But all this could soon change at the B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital for Children.

'The state finance department sanctioned Rs 60 lakh, as part payment, a few days back for the hospital's development and work for vertical extension will start soon after the Pujas,' a senior health department official said.

'A total of Rs 1.8 crore has been sanctioned and the rest of the amount will be made available by the next financial year,' confirmed hospital superintendent Mrinal Kanti Chatterjee.

This is part of the Rs 22-crore package sanctioned by the state government for immediate development of several hospitals, including SSKM, Midnapore medical college and B.C. Roy, a source said.

Team India captain Sourav Ganguly had raised Rs 70 lakh for the children's hospital.

An expansion is long overdue as the hospital, where children are referred to from Calcutta as well as adjoining districts, suffers from severe space crunch.

The source said once more floors are added, the hospital will get 10 wards with 180 beds. The authorities have set a six-month deadline.

'We were demanding this amount for a long time as it was sorely needed and this is good news for us,' Chatterjee said.

Then he gave some good news. 'Once the constructions are complete, we will set up a neo-natal intensive care unit and a paediatric intensive care unit,' he added.

Still, there will be much missing in the super-speciality referral hospital ' an emergency observation room, emergency medical officers, anti-venom serums, a dialysis unit and emergency surgical facilities.

In the absence of an observation room, mandatory in government hospitals, the authorities have no option but to admit even those patients who do not require prolonged treatment.

The hospital has 250 beds, but the number of patients often crosses the 400 mark. Of the 250 beds, 40 are paying and 50 surgical beds and it is mandatory to keep one patient in every bed in these wards. The rest are often shared by as many as three little patients.

Between 13,000 and 16,000 patients are admitted to the hospital every year.

'Now the pressure is a little less with the change in climatic conditions and other factors,' the superintendent said.

Two years ago, when 12 crib deaths within 72 hours at the hospital rocked the state, then Union health minister Shatrughan Sinha had promised more than Rs 10 crore for extension and development of the hospital. However, the funds were never disbursed and later plans were drawn to provide loans from Hudco.

'The loan from Hudco also does not seem to be a viable option and so special funds were allocated,' a health department official said.

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