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Crisis in new medical college

Tezpur Medical College Hospital. Telegraph picture

Tezpur, Aug. 4: Assam’s new medical college, Tezpur Medical College Hospital, is facing a crisis of staff and salary payment just six months after becoming functional.

About 21 junior doctors, who were appointed from across Assam under a six-month agreement with the National Rural Health Mission on January 31, have left on completion of this period.

More than 100 nurses of the hospital have also been transferred to other hospitals and public health centres of the state since July.

Tezpur Medical College Hospital’s superintendent Rajendra Kumar Kalita told this correspondent that the hospital was facing a crisis of 58 junior doctors. It currently has 108 doctors, mostly engaged in teaching, and 264 nurses. The posts of four medical officers in the casualty department and three deputy superintendents were vacant.

Kalita said with doctors and nurses vacating their posts, the hospital had become almost defunct since August 1. “We have urged the government to immediately fill up the vacant posts in the interest of the patients.”

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today directed the health department to take immediate steps to fill up the posts in Tezpur Medical College Hospital, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College Hospital and Jorhat Medical College Hospital, after which the department posted four medical officers in the casualty department of Tezpur Medical College Hospital.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said the National Rural Health Mission would also post 15 medical officers and a specialist at Tezpur Medical College Hospital.

To make matters worse, doctors at Tezpur Medical College Hospital have not been paid salaries since February, as there is no budgetary allocation. “In such a situation, many had to take loan from a group fund,” Kalita said.

Tezpur Medical College Hospital, the sixth in the state and the only one on the north bank, was inaugurated by Gogoi on January 31. It was set up with the objective of providing healthcare to people of the north bank districts of Assam and neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.

Many patients have shifted from the hospital to private nursing homes and Kanaklata civil hospital here because of dearth of doctors.

Residents of the town have urged the government to take immediate steps to run the hospital and the medical college. They alleged that most senior doctors had not joined the institution after getting their appointments.