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Mamata Banerjee asks private doctors to return

Take all the required protection but start seeing some patients: CM
“I want to tell private doctors — doctors attached to private hospitals and private clinics. Please use PPE kits. Please use sanitisers. Take all the required protection but start seeing some patients,” Mamata said at Nabanna on Friday.

TT Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 29.05.20, 10:11 PM

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has urged private doctors to return to their clinics amid allegations that many of them are still refusing to see patients for fear of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“I want to tell private doctors — doctors attached to private hospitals and private clinics. Please use PPE kits. Please use sanitisers. Take all the required protection but start seeing some patients,” Mamata said at Nabanna on Friday.

“If there are too many people, there could be a problem. You need to put a system in place. Do not grant many appointments on one day. Grant some appointments,” she added.

Over a fortnight ago, in the second week of May, the state government had green-lighted reopening of private clinic and OPD units at private hospitals.

But while most private clinics in the city are still shut, the OPDs are functioning with a depleted strength. Across Calcutta, doctors in polyclinics and private chambers are not seeing patients.

An official of a polyclinic in south Calcutta said that before the lockdown, as many as 60 doctors would see patients in a week. “The count has come down to 12. Those who are not turning up want to wait and watch,” he told Metro.

“We are putting pressure on clinical establishments (private hospitals) to restore normality. But they are having their own problems. Many doctors are still not going to private hospitals to see patients,” retired judge Ashim Kumar Banerjee, the chairperson of the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission, the regulatory body for private hospitals, said on Friday.

An official at a private hospital said the OPDs were not operating in full capacity because of lack of doctors. “ENT, pulmonology and ophthalmology are the departments where the absence is most stark,” said the official. “Elderly doctors are more scared to see patients.”

Quarantine unit appeal

People who are protesting opening of quarantine centres in their localities are “inviting danger”, Firhad Hakim, chairman of the board of administrators of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, said on Friday.

“If people do not allow quarantine centres in their areas, we will not open them. But if someone tests positive from their neighbourhood, that person’s contacts will have no place to be quarantined,” said Hakim said.

“People who are protesting against quarantine centres in their neighbourhoods are inviting danger,” Hakim said.

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