At a time when the healthcare sector is battling the shortage of doctors, nurses and other staff, Purulia and Bankura — two remote Maoist dominated districts — will get three sprawling hospitals with highly expensive modular operation theatres (O Ts) and life-saving medical equipment, modern faster elevators and so on.
Incidentally, no other government medical college has such modern OTs.
The hospitals will come up at Purulia town and Chapna and Onda in Bankura with the funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF), a scheme of the Central government.
The three hospitals, which are coming up in the first phase, are part of the plan to set up 34 super specialty hospitals in backward areas across the state.
A modular OT consists of slanted panels capable of incorporating electrical equipment, medical gas system and lighting gears. There is a continuous flow of highly filtered bacteriafree air in the room.
“We will float tenders inviting construction agencies to build the hospitals after the panchayat polls. The hospital in Purulia town will come up on the land of the Deben Mahato hospital and will be a 10-storied building accommodating 500 beds. The two others in Bankura will be five-storied with 300 beds each,” said a senior official of the West Bengal Medical Services Corporation (WBMSC), the nodal implementing agency for 27 out of the 34 super specialty hospitals.
“As per the tender norms, the agency constructing the hospitals will also install the OTs. The tender papers have already been submitted to health secretary Satish Tewari. After getting the approval of the chief minister, who heads the health department, the tenders will be floated,” the official said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants the hospitals to be completed quickly so as to stop the referral of cases to medical colleges in Kolkata from the districts. So, the target period for the completion of the Purulia hospital is two years after the selection of the construction agency. For the two other hospitals, it is 18 months.
The hospital in Purulia will have 12 OTs, including two modular ones. Four OTs, including one modular one, will be installed at Chapna and Onda each. The cost of installing a modular OT is R1 crore.
Each hospital will have modern treatment facilities in cardiology, nephrology, ENT, general surgery, gynaecology, paediatric medicine and emergency cases.
The hospital buildings with 50% AC facilities will have faster elevators, fire-resistant systems, complete IT system and ATM counters each.
However, the government’s decision to set up these hospitals has raised eyebrows.
“We do not understand the need for setting up modular OTs, which are required mainly for critical surgeries such as heart valve replacement, bypass and so on. The state-run medical colleges, where such surgeries are performed, do not have such OTs,” an official said.
He also questioned how the government would come up with staff for these hospitals given the shortage in the public healthcare system.
“We are setting three super specialty hospitals. We know there is a crisis of doctors and other staff in Bengal. We are exploring ways to deal with it,” Dr BR Satpathi, director of health services, told