After chief minister Mamata Banerjee, it is the turn of the vice-chancellor of West Bengal University of Health Sciences to make surprise visits to medical colleges across the state.
On March 22, Amit Banerjee was shocked to find not a single teacher on duty at a state-run dental college hospital in Burdwan. At 1.30 pm the campus was filled with students but not one teacher, not even principal Gautam Das was to be seen. Banerjee’s visit passed entirely unnoticed.
Horrified at the state of affairs at the premier dental teaching hospital, Banerjee decided to shoot off a report to the chief minister who holds the health portfolio and to Governor MK Narayanan, who is chancellor of the university. The director of medical education professor Susanta Banerjee is also on the WBUHS vice-chancellor’s mailing list.
“The visit was a real shock. I will seek clarifications from the principal when he comes to the university on April 8 to attend an academic council meeting,” Banerjee told HT on Tuesday.
“He should have informed us before coming to our hospital. We do not stay in the hospital after 2 pm when all the outdoor wards of different departments shut down,” said Das.
“There are 32 teaching doctors against a sanctioned strength of 93. It’s surprising that only two were found during peak hours. The vice-chancellor contacted the principal on the mobile phone from the spot and wanted to know why he was not at the hospital. The principal told the vice-chancellor that he had already left,” a senior WBUHS official said.
Banerjee spent more than 30 minutes at the hospital. He found only the medical superintendent and a junior clinical tutor on duty, with some security personnel. Banerjee gathered from the security personnel that the principal hadn’t turned up at all that day.
“I was in the college till 2.10 pm. He called me on the mobile phone when I’d just boarded the bus. It was not possible to rush to the college again,” Das said, adding, “I have been serving in state healthcare for about 36 years and I was surprised to see doctors in government hospitals leave for the day after 2 pm.”
The vice-chancellor also spoke to the BDS students and learnt that most teachers stay in the hospital for a maximum of an hour or two before leaving for the day by 1 pm.
The students also conveyed to Banerjee that classes were not held regularly. Banerjee also visited Burdwan Medical College Hospital, homeopathy medical college and nursing college on the same day and was satisfied with the overall state of affairs there.