The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hospitals ready, but no staff to run them
- Contractor death stalls one clinic

Baruipur, Sept. 22: At a time when hospitals in Calcutta are being forced to admit multiple patients per bed as need far outstrips the facilities at hand, two modern clinics in neighbouring South 24-Parganas are yet to begin operations and construction of a third has ground to a halt midway.

Of the three sub-divisional hospitals in question, the largest one at Baruipur and another at Kakdwip were completed in the first half of 2002. The one at Canning is incomplete.

Together, the three hospitals could have met the medical needs of a large number of patients in their outdoor and indoor wards every month, feel district officials.

That would have considerably lessened the burden on some Calcutta hospitals, especially the Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital and the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital, two clinics that get a large percentage of their patients from South 24-Parganas, the officials added.

The Baruipur Sub-Divisional Hospital was completed ahead of schedule — a rare achievement in these parts — after its foundation stone was laid by former public works department minister Kshiti Goswami in 2001.

“The hospital cost over Rs 15 lakh,” Goswami said, but could not give any reason why it was still not being put to use. “I can’t really say what the problem is,” he admitted.

South 24-Parganas chief medical officer of health Bhaskar Bhattacharya had a reason. “How can a hospital function without staff'” he asked. Repeated petitions to the government to post adequate number of doctors, nurses, technicians and group-D staff have not borne any fruit, he explained.

The hospital now has only one outpatients’ department — dealing with the eye — working. The equipment for three operation theatres, the other outpatients’ departments and 68 beds remain unutilised.

Officials diagnosed the same malaise in the Kakdwip hospital. The building was completed more than seven months ago. Since then, the costly equipment have remained inside packing boxes as there is no staff to operate them.

The Canning Sub-Divisional Hospital, however, has got a different problem. The contractor in charge of constructing it died midway through the work, leading to a knot that the administration has still not been able to unravel.

The sub-division has six blocks — Joynagar I and II, Bhangor I and II, Kultali and Baruipur itself — and officials feel that the pressure on Calcutta’s hospitals can be reduced to a great extent if the facilities, already approved and in place, can be put to optimum use.

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