The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 26 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Health hub autonomy hint

Dropping hint at according autonomous status to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asked the health cradle authorities to replace its old buildings with multi-storeyed structures and upgrade the healthcare facilities.

“The officials of the PMCH have to run to different departments to get their small works done. If the health hub is given autonomy, things would be much easier and PMCH would be in far better condition,” Nitish said while speaking at the 88th foundation day-cum-alumni meet of Patna Medical College and Hospital on the institution premises.

Nitish suggested that an open panchayat could be organised at the PMCH to seek suggestions of the alumni and the doctors on various issues. It would also provide a platform to discuss the long pending works.

A tad critical about the old buildings of the PMCH, he sarcastically said: “I don’t know why the PMCH authorities have so far not thought about replacing the old buildings with multi-storeyed buildings. Perhaps they love the old buildings. If so, they can make a museum in one of the buildings and decorate it with the pictures of the old structures of the PMCH. The rest can be converted into multi-storeyed buildings.”

Nitish also talked about improving the infrastructure of the PMCH. “The infrastructure of the health hub should be improved. Not only the PMCH, the other state-run medical colleges also need a makeover. The latest equipment are still not available at the state-run hospitals and this situation has to change. But as you know, the government has to fulfil certain formalities before doing any work. So the implementation of this plan would take time. However, the healthcare service in the state has improved. The rise in the number of patients in the government hospitals proves that the people have started trusting the state-run health facilities,” he said.

Nitish said a meeting would be convened within a fortnight to discuss the demands of the PMCH. “I have asked Anjani Kumar Singh, the principal secretary of the health department, to hold a meeting with the important officials of the health and finance departments to chalk out how we can fulfil the demands of the PMCH,” he said.

Earlier, Nitish said in a lighter vein that PMCH principal N.P. Yadav had been inviting him to the alumni meet for three years because his demands regarding the health hub had not been fulfilled yet. “Mujhe pata hai jab tak inki mange puri nahi hongi, yeh hume bulate rahenge. (I know he would keep calling me until his demands are met with),” he said.

Addressing the gathering, health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said the state government’s repeated requests to the Union government to set up a virology lab in the state had not been fulfilled. “In states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, virology labs have been set up. Though the Union government has set up Rajendra Medical Research Institute (RMRI), it has not been fully developed. There is lack of resources in RMRI,” he said.

The alumni who took part in the programme were nostalgic to come back to their campus. But some of them were not happy with the present infrastructure.

Rakesh Choudhary, a student of the 1982 batch who is now working at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, said: “I am not happy with the infrastructure at the PMCH. Even if the doctors are good, they can’t do much if there is no proper infrastructure,” said Choudhary.

Dr S.Q. Hassan, a student of the 1965 batch and an ophthalmologist at National Medical College in Birgunj, said: “It is pathetic that a health hub like PMCH does not have its own CT scan machine. I got to know that the machine is running on public-partnership mode. Also, I got to know that there is no MRI machine here. The state government must address these problems.”