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Call for hospital for doctors to be studied

Mamata hears out Covid-19 related concerns of medical community
Mamata Banerjee

Sanjay Mandal   |   Calcutta   |   Published 28.04.20, 09:31 PM

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday addressed the concerns of doctors about their safety while treating Covid-19 patients and their own treatment facilities.

In a two-hour meeting with representatives of the Indian Medical Association and other doctors’ organisations at Nabanna, the chief minister promised to look into their demand for a designated hospital to treat doctors and other health workers if they get infected by the novel coronavirus, doctors who attended the meeting said.

State government sources said Ohio Hospital in New Town, which the health department had recently requisitioned to set up a dedicated Covid-19 treatment centre, could be reserved for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.

Mamata told the doctors that the government would ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) was made available to all doctors at the state-run medical colleges.

Junior doctors had recently expressed resentment over the lack of PPE after several of them were infected with the coronavirus at the NRS Medical College and Hospital and the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

The doctors’ organisations told the chief minister that doctors across Calcutta as well as in the districts wanted to reopen their personal clinics but they needed protective gear such as N95 masks and abundant supply of hand sanitisers to protect themselves from the virus.

“There was a suggestion from doctors to make N95 masks available at fair price shops so that doctors who run private clinics can get those easily. The chief minister has promised to look into the matter,” said a doctor present at the meeting.

Most doctors closed their private chambers after the outbreak had started and lockdown been imposed. That left thousands who visit the clinics for consultation inconvenienced.

A number of doctors said immunisation of children had been affected.

“At hospitals, doctors are provided with personal protective equipment. But it's difficult to procure PPE and N95 masks for private clinics because those are not readily available,” said physician Amitabha Saha. The gear is a must at private clinics because many of them are so small that social distancing is difficult to maintain.

At the meeting, the doctors requested the government to prepare guidelines for reuse of PPEs and N95 masks and to train them in wearing those.

The chief minister apparently told senior doctors to boost the morale of their junior colleagues through counselling. “The CM asked officials to ensure more transport facilities for doctors and nurses from home to hospital and back,” said a doctor.

The doctors also requested Mamata to extend the lockdown. “She said the state was considering an extension in the containment zones,” said a representative of a doctors’ organisation.

“The meeting was fruitful and all doctors’ organisations thanked the CM for listening to their concerns and her promise to address those. She also promised to frequently meet the doctors,” said Santanu Sen, state secretary of the IMA in Bengal and Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP.

Another request from the doctors was to allow sample collection for Covid-19 tests at OPDs.

Meeting points

⚫ More PPEs and N95 masks for doctors

⚫ Reopening of private clinics

⚫ Designated hospital for treating doctors, nurses, other health workers infected with Covid-19

⚫ Sample collection for Covid-19 tests at OPDs

⚫ Guidelines on reuse of masks and PPE

⚫ Augmenting plasma therapy process

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