The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clinic clique for mob cover

Nursing homes VANDALISED recently

:Ashirvad Nursing Home, Keshtopur, November 9, 2003

:Rameshwara Nursing Home, Ultadanga, September 2003

:Paramount Nursing Home, Hazra, September 2003

Owners of private nursing homes that have, of late, borne the brunt of public ire have decided to form an association and make representations to the government, demanding protection against increasing vandalism. There are about 2,000 small and big private nursing homes in the city and the suburbs.

The owners will formulate a common code of conduct. “We are not only doing business but also serving a large section of society through quality healthcare. The government fails to understand this. It keeps saying that it needs us (private nursing homes) to carry healthcare forward in Bengal, but what about protecting us from regular vandalism'” says V.K. Vidyasaria, managing director of Rameshwara Nursing Home and spokesman of several like-minded nursing home-owners.

Welcoming the move, director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said the government was committed to improving healthcare and protecting the rights of doctors. “I believe an association will help them eliminate many deficiencies within the system,” he added.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) was more forthcoming on the issue. “An association is required to raise the standards of healthcare in private nursing homes, as many do not have proper infrastructure or even staff, like resident medical officers. I am sure the association can sort out these problems, apart from protecting their rights,” said IMA joint secretary (headquarters) R.D. Dubey.

The latest victim of public anger is Ashirvad Nursing Home, in Keshtopur. Last Sunday, a 150-strong mob ransacked the nursing home and brutally assaulted a doctor, P.P. Gupta, after the death of a 24-year-old woman. Gupta had referred her to Infectious Diseases Hospital, in Beleghata. Gupta’s eyes and limbs were damaged in the attack.

Moderate to big nursing homes in the city, like Divine, Daffodil, Charing Cross, Ashirvad and North City, have all come together to try and frame a common agenda and voice their concern jointly to the government, besides addressing their own problems.

They have written to state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, officers of the health department and also to Union health minister Sushma Swaraj, drawing their attention to the mob violence they faced and also of their intention to form an association.

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