Railway Board’s director-general (medical services) PS Prasad (right) at the Tatanagar hospital in Khasmahal on Monday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Tatanagar railway hospital, which has been on the sickbed for years now in the absence of doctors, resources and infrastructure, can finally hope for recovery.
Director-general (medical services) of Railway Board P.S. Prasad promised to inject fresh blood into the Khasmahal-based heal hub after an inspection that exposed several festering wounds on Monday.
“I would like to upgrade the hospital in terms of improving the quality of treatment. All necessary support will be provided to the hospital,” Prasad promised at a news meet at Tatanagar station, half a kilometre from the hospital, on Monday.
During the inspection, Prasad, who was accompanied by S. Behra, chief medical officer, Tatanagar railway hospital, found out that the 60-bed hospital mainly meant for railway employees and their families had a depleted stock of medicines and insufficient doctors.
Many complained that the sole ambulance was hardly of any use as it mostly remains out of order.
But Prasad was not completely put off by what he saw as he believed that the hospital was doing far better when compared to 35 years ago when he came to work there as a doctor.
“When I had joined the hospital 35 years ago as a doctor, there was meagre infrastructure. The number of doctors was very few. Today, there are eight doctors. Thus, I can say that the condition of the hospital has improved a lot in the past three decades, but there is more to be done,” Prasad, who began his career at the Tatanagar facility, said.
Asked about the manpower crunch, Prasad admitted that doctors did not prefer to join government hospitals because the pay was very low in comparison to private facilities.
“At railway hospitals, around 33 per cent of doctors’ posts are vacant. This is because they don’t like to work in government hospitals as they are not paid well,” he said.
Asked whether there was any solution to the problem, Prasad said he would not be able to do much to get the vacancies filled as these matters come under the purview of the regional railway authority.
The visiting railway officer was taken aback when a section of the media told him that Tata Motors Hospital, which has a tie-up with Tatanagar railway hospital for providing treatment to patients belonging to the families of railway employees, had stopped accepting referral cases a year ago due to huge pending dues.
“Look, these issues are handled by the local railway authority, but I can tell you that the dues have been cleared by the railways and Tata Motors Hospital has resumed providing services to our patients recently,” he added.
Apart from treating railway employees and their dependents, the railway hospital also caters to passengers falling ill on trains or on the platforms. The patients are first admitted to the railway hospital.
If the ailment or injuries are grievous, they are referred to Tata Motors Hospital.
At present, the railway hospital is doing with eight doctors and a chief medical officer. There are 10 nurses and few paramedics.
Prasad had arrived in the state from Delhi on Sunday to inspect heal hubs under Chakradharpur railway division.
On Monday morning, he first inspected Chakradharpur railway hospital before taking a special train to Tatanagar. He went to the railway hospital and inspected the facilities at 2pm.