KOLKATA, 22 JUNE: Even a year after the death of Jyoti Basu, a room earmarked for him remains locked in the Bidhannagar Sub-divisional hospital that does not even have an intensive treatment unit (ITU) or an intensive critical care unit (ICCU).
Jyoti Basu converted the polyclinic, which was established on 14 November 1980, into a state general hospital on 27 February, 1991. Two AC rooms were also set up in the hospital for VIPs. One of the rooms was kept reserved for Jyoti Basu. Due to the proximity of the hospital to the airport, another was set aside for other VIPs who might need medical assistance.
However, in the past 21 years, neither Jyoti Basu nor any VIP had used the rooms. The condition of the locked-up rooms deteriorated over the years. There was a proposal from a section of employees in the hospital to use the rooms as ICCUs but nothing was done.
Interestingly, the same hospital in the township, which was conceptualised by Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, neither has a 24-hour operation theatre, nor an ICCU or ITU. The operation theater remains open from 10 am to 3 pm only.
Even though there are several private nursing homes in and around Salt Lake, the sub-division hospital is the only option for residents of the added areas of the township like Sukantanagar, Naobhanga and Mahishbatan. Several patients from as far as the Sunderbans, Bashirhat and Sashan visit the hospital that is reeling under severe staff crunch and lack of medical equipment like semi-automatic analyser and scan machines.
Doctors said that almost every morning they have to handle accident cases. The New Town Rajarhat road is nearby and people who go there on long drives often end up with rash driving. Because of the location of the hospital, most of such cases are brought here, they added.
Salt Lake is also an area with the maximum number of geriatric cases. The primary need of geriatric patients is orthopaedic surgeons and cardiologists but none of them is there in the hospital. There are only two gynaecologists, while two posts remain vacant. With several posts of group D staff lying vacant, the hospital walls remain covered with cobwebs. Needless to say, the dirty floors make the place look messy, especially after heavy rains. There is only one technician in the hospital while the posts of two are lying vacant.
The hospital superintendent, Mr Somnath Bhattacharya, said many a times he had requested the health department for installation of equipment, staff and specialty centres but to no avail. He said that the 100-bed hospital has about 32 staff posts vacant. He said hopefully with the change in governance of the state, a new health policy would be framed.
“The facilities we have are like that of sub-divisional hospitals. Unless there is a change in policy, there’s nothing we can do,” he added.