Sunday, March 26

Mamata Banerjee’s gift to SSKM: More beds, new cancer centre, trauma unit

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Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Doctors’ Day announced a slew of measures to reach out to medics with incentives and patients with new facilities. While doctors may get a quarter of the bill generated from private beds at SSKM’s Woodburn ward, the government plans to set up a cancer facility at SSKM and take over the underutilized Police Hospital to add to the city’s healthcare infrastructure.

SSKM Hospital authorities have already introduced pay-beds in Woodburn ward, charting a middle path between private healthcare facilities and government’s free healthcare. Here a patient has to pay for beds, investigations, medicines and surgery. “SSKM doctors will attend to patients here,” the CM said. While doctors could get 25% of the billed amount, the rest would go into hospital development, partly cross-subsidising patients in other wards treated for free. The Woodburn ward has been a hit since it opened in its new avatar in May-end. “People who have been to this ward say it looks like a five-star hotel. Another 150 rooms are being added,” Banerjee said at a programme held at SSKM to felicitate renowned doctors in the state.

The CM said the health department would take over the Kolkata Police Hospital. “I have asked the health secretary to take over the Kolkata Police Hospital and utilise its infrastructure that remains grossly unused. Keep 50% of the beds reserved for the police and open up the other half for public,” she said.

Banerjee also announced the plans for a cancer hospital on the land opposite SSKM’s emergency section. “We have identified the land opposite the emergency at SSKM. I will hand over the land to the health department,” the CM said, urging doctors to find ways to improve treatment of cancer patients.

“We are yet to come up with a treatment procedure to cure stage-III, stage-IV cancer patients. Doctors advise chemotherapy but that is no answer to their ailment. It reminds me of Subrata Maitra, himself a doctor. He felt pain in his brain and took admission to a hospital. He could take one or two chemotherapy before he died. Gautambabu, please explore if there is some medicine or treatment in other countries,” the CM told oncologist Gautam Mukherjee.

The CM also inaugurated the new trauma care centre at SSKM, sending out a message the government had consistently been expanding superspeciality facilities. “We spent Rs 100 crore to set up the trauma care centre. It is one of the best in the country and has all modern equipment. We have sanctioned 760 posts for running the centre,” she added.

Banerjee said the government was not merely focussed on the tertiary sector. “We have set up 20 medical colleges, added 28,000 beds in hospitals. We have set up more than 300 SNCUs and 70 SNSUs that helped us bring down infant mortality. I have asked to upgrade 43 speciality hospitals to super-speciality facilities,” she added.


Source: Times of India

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