The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor quit jolt to health reform

Calcutta, Dec. 11: Three renowned specialists attached to state-run hospitals have put in their papers, a move associates attributed to frustration over the administration's inability to improve basic health care.

Dipesh Mondal, head of the neurology department of Calcutta Medical College, Kalyan Bhattacharya, head of the radiology department of Nil Ratan Sircar hospital, and Ashok Kar, a senior cardiologist with the SSKM hospital, have resigned, dealing a blow to the government's hyped campaign on health reforms.

Sources in the health department said six specialists in medical colleges in the city and the districts are likely to follow suit soon.

Although the doctors officially cited 'personal reasons', close associates said the reasons for quitting lay in their inability to adapt to the prevailing mismanagement in the state-run hospitals and the government's apathy towards people's basic medical requirements.

Bhattacharya, who had earlier served in SSKM, Calcutta Medical College and R.G. Kar hospital, said he was 'totally fed up' with the state of affairs in the health sector.

'I have served in different hospitals for the past 28 years and I was transferred as many as 11 times. I never resorted to any clandestine private practice and sacrificed my entire career to patient care. So I decided to call it a day,' he said.

While Kar cited 'unavoidable circumstances', Mondal told his friends that he had no option as all his efforts to improve work culture in his department met with resistance.

'I made an all-out effort to open a stroke unit and tried to convince the hospital bosses about its need without success,' he said.

'I do not want to blame anybody in particular for the present state of affairs in health services, but there is lots of scope for improvement,' Kar said.

Health officials seemed unmoved. 'There is no doubt that their resignations are a major setback. We are trying to retain these renowned doctors' If they stick to their stand, we cannot do anything about it,' said Soumen Bandopadhyay, joint director of medical education.

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