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Team points out health lapses

North Bengal Medical College and Hospital

Siliguri, June 24: A four-member team constituted by the chief minister to recommend health sector reforms has found lapses in the delivery system of basic amenities such as free medicines and water and lack of interaction between doctors and patients’ relatives at the secondary health institutions in three north Bengal districts.

“Bigger problems like shortage of beds, doctors and technicians exist in all hospitals. But patients in all the hospitals that we have visited said there was no regular supply of (free) medicines and drinking water. These problems do not require high-level intervention and can be handled by the hospital authorities. We have instructed the superintendents of all the hospitals to take prompt action to solve these problems,” said Subrata Moitra, a Calcutta-based cardiologist who led the team.

The team has visited around 10 health care centres in Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling since yesterday. The other members of the group are Saibal Maitra, an ophthalmologist, Siddharth Gupta, a pathologist and gynecologist Subrata Chatterjee.

“Some relatives complained that doctors never discussed the health condition of their patients with the family members. We have advised all the hospitals to schedule an hour everyday to discuss patients’ health condition with their relatives. Many of these hospitals do not even have waiting rooms and the patients’ family members have to wait outside while the patients are being treated. We have asked the hospitals to construct waiting sheds,” Moitra said.

The team visited MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar and the subdivisional hospitals in Mekhliganj, Dinhata and Mathabhanga yesterday and Jalpaiguri district hospital, Nagrakatta block primary health centre, Hila subhealth centre, Rani Ashrumati Memorial TB Hospital, NBMCH and Siliguri district hospital today.

The team will submit its findings to an eight-member multi-disciplinary committee under which it functions on July 11.