Patient shows tout to DM at medical college
Allegations that touts were harassing patients at Malda Medical College and Hospital (MMCH) and extracting money from them on various pretexts came to surface when district magistrate Nitin Singhania visited the facility on Friday.
During a sudden visit to the wards of the medical college, Singhania himself identified an alleged tout and instructed the hospital authorities to take steps against him. He asserted that all such people should be stopped from entering the premises.
Sources said the district magistrate, who is the also chairman of the Rogi Kalyan Samity of the MMCH, reached the hospital to attend a meeting of the committee on Friday. Ahead of the meeting, Singhania decided to visit the wards. While roaming around, a patient’s relative approached Singhania and informed him that though the patient had a “Swasthya Sathi” card — the health insurance card provided by the state government — he had to pay 1,100 for certain clinical tests.
The DM asked the man to identify the person whom he had paid the money. Soon, the alleged tout was located.Miffed with the incident, Singhania asked the MMCH authorities to investigate the matter and take stern action.“It is disgusting to see that touts are active at the MMCH, both in outpatient departments and in wards. A patient carrying the health insurance card is entitled to get free investigations done at a private laboratory that has a contract with the MMCH. But touts are extorting money from patients to get their tests done. This practice has to be stopped,” he said later.Partha Pratim Mukherjee, the principal of the MMCH, has instructed the hospital superintendent to conduct a probe.
After Friday’s incident, it was decided that officials in the rank of additional district magistrate and above will visit the hospital every week, said sources. Singhania, sources said, asked the hospital authorities to take steps against five doctors as they were allegedly doing private practices though they availed themselves of non-practicing allowances which the state paid to them.