Calcutta, Aug. 31: The touts who often decide who gets a bed and who doesn’t will be shooed away from SSKM Hospital, a patient welfare committee headed by two senior Trinamul ministers decided today.
It was also decided that no trade union activity would be allowed at the state’s apex hospital during duty hours (9am to 7pm).
All union posters on the walls of the hospital will be removed within 72 hours, said transport minister Madan Mitra, the co-chairman of the committee.
The other co-chairman, urban development minister Firhad Hakim, too was present at the meeting. Sources said the two ministers took “such strong decisions” at the behest of Mamata Banerjee. “The chief minister wants SSKM to look different,” an official said.
Several doctors, including the director of the Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER), the SSKM superintendent and the heads of various departments, attended the meeting.
A decision was also taken to do away with the “referral” system for admission to the Bangur Institute of Neurosciences (BIN), located on the SSKM compound.
“Earlier, a patient had to be referred by another hospital to get admission to BIN. This system is being done away with,” said Pradip Mitra, IPGMER director. “Now patients can directly come for a check-up at the institute and get admitted if required.”
Officials present at the meeting said the “biggest decision” was the one to rid SSKM of touts.
“Police personnel at the SSKM outpost have been asked to conduct periodic checks throughout the day so that no tout can enter the compound,” Mitra said. “The last round will have to be after 10pm.”
SSKM sources said touts were a major impediment to the hospital’s day-to-day functioning. The touts often fleece patients by “offering” them beds at high prices.
“The touts have connections among those who can arrange for beds and blood,” a police officer said.
From now on, the unions can paste posters only on a board that will be put up behind the hospital’s administrative building.
“There are several places where certain things (related to the unions) can be discussed but not in the hospital during daytime,” minister Mitra said.
An official at a government hospital in Calcutta said union activities during duty hours were a major problem plaguing health care facilities.
“The union leaders often skip work and spend time in the union office. It’s difficult to act against them as they resort to strikes,” he said.
In 2011, Mamata had issued a directive barring government employees from leaving their workplace before the end of duty hours.
“Since then, union leaders have stopped leaving before the end of duty hours but that is not saying much as they spend most of the time in the union offices,” the official said.
Today’s meeting decided that the public works department (PWD) would complete the repairs and restoration at SSKM’s main block by January.
“An outdoor paediatric ward and an endocrinology unit will be opened in the main block once the PWD hands it over to us,” Mitra said.
A 10-bed “comprehensive breast-care unit” will be set up at Sambhunath Pandit Hospital in a week, the meeting decided.
Some of the decisions taken on Saturday
• Police to make rounds to do away with touts
• No union activity
during duty hours
• Walls to be cleared
• Patients to be allowed direct access to
Bangur Institute of Neurosciences; no need to be referred
by another hospital
• Repair and restoration of the main block at SSKM to be completed by January
• Shed for patients’ relatives
• Canteen for outsiders
• Mechanised cleaning
of hospital clothes
• Dedicated unit at
Sambhunath Pandit for breast-related ailments
in a week