The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hospital doors shut on doctors

Kustaur (Purulia), Nov. 7: Residents locked the gates of a block primary health centre here this morning when they found no doctor on duty.

A diarrhoea patient had to be rushed to the Purulia Sadar hospital, 15 km away, because “there was no one to attend to him” at the Kustaur health centre in Purulia II block.

A lone nurse was present at the clinic when the patient, dehydrated and needing immediate care, was brought.

“None of the three medical officers was present,” said Dinesh Modak, one of the youths who locked up the health centre. Modak and his friends, members of a local club, said they kept an eye on the goings-on at the health centre off the main road and the bus stop.

“Most of the time, the doctors and nurses are unavailable. Block medical officer of health Tushar Dutta is busy treating patients at his quarters on the hospital premises,” the youths alleged.

When they saw the patient having to be rushed to Purulia for want of a doctor, they locked the gate to the main building. A crowd of about 500 residents gathered, seeing the commotion.

Dutta and some nurses, who arrived after some time, were prevented from entering the centre, about 300 km from Calcutta. “We allowed them in when an emergency head injury patient arrived,” said Bablu Mukherjee, a resident.

The officer-in-charge of Mofussil police station arrived at 11.15, more than an hour after the health centre had been put under lock and key. Deputy chief medical officer of health S. Mukherjee and assistant chief medical officer A. Rehman came from Purulia town and showered assurances.

“After discussions with the block medical officer, we found that there were a few managerial deficiencies at the hospital. The main problem was in man management. The doctors were finding it difficult to handle the Grade-IV employees. We also found lacunae in doctor-patient relationships,” said Mukherjee.

“We will return in a week to review the situation,” the medical officer added.

The residents could only be hopeful.

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