Silchar, Jan 10: Taking a swipe at the doctors of Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) at a meeting with them in the conference hall of the premier institution, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Health and Education, asked why have so many private nursing homes come up near the college? This observation of the Minister created quite a flutter in the doctor fraternity. Some of them were seen muttering among themselves more in surprise at this unexpected dig at them. The occasion was the inauguration of Rs.8 crore Mother and Child Health Hospital in the vicinity of the Medical College.
To add grist to his swipe, Himanta Biswa Sarma refer to the case of P C Sarma, former head of the Cardiology Department of the College, against whom several complaints of irregularities were lodged by the patients and their family members. He had to be transferred from here to Guwahati. He installed 145 pacemakers in one nursing home without naming it. Details from another nursing home are being collected, he said. It was a serious matter as pacemakers are for free installations in SMCH. Without elaborating, he justified the transfer of cardiology head.
The Health Minister called upon the doctors to devote their total services to the College where they have been appointed and are paid handsomely. He asked them to avoid private practices and visiting nursing homes. It was his promise to them they would be given all the salary and perks as well as the facilities enjoyed by the doctors of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS). Even in their further academic pursuits and travel abroad on research or study purposes, they would be provided the incentives required.
In order to monitor the functioning of SMCH, a committee consisting of leading citizens would be constituted. The committee would be given the responsibility to note any irregularities or anomalies in respect of any department and their observations would be duly examined for action to rectify them in order to reach better services to the patients. In view of the load of works on this Medical College due to the visit of patients not only from this valley but also from the neighbouring district of Dima Hasao, states of Mizoram, Tripura and lower Manipur, another medical college has been planned and is making rapid progress in construction at Karimganj.
The Health Minister also touched upon the menacing shape that cancer has been assuming not only in this part of the state but in other areas also. During the last 5 years, 80,000 cancer cases have been detected. For better treatment, Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre has been sanctioned Rs.10 crore and a cheque of the amount was handed over to Dr. Ravi Kannan. He also promised to extend all possible help to this hospital in future for rendering services to the poor patients.
Dilip Kumar Paul, Deputy Speaker of Assam Assembly, who accompanied the Health Minister, had a word of advice to the doctors. He appealed to them not to give any scope to patients and their family members for raising any complaints in respect of their treatment and availability of the facilities due to them in the Medical College and Hospital. He cited the example of Dr. Ravi Kannan, Director of Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, who just to help the poor patients came all the way from Chennai, sacrificing his lucrative job as the Director of Cancer Institute of Chennai.
Dr. Shilpi Rani Barman, Principal cum Chief Superintendent, SMCH, placed a number of demands before the Health Minister. There was need for upgradation and modernization of certain departments like cardiology, neurology, eurology, nephrology among others. These should be made full-fledged. The shortage of Grade III and IV employees as well as nursing staff and above all the doctors should be removed with the appointment of requisite numbers against each of them. It was a positive development that both B.Sc. Nursing College and Pharmacist College were running smoothly.
The exclusive Mother and Child Hospital whose foundation stone was laid on November 22, 2009 has started functioning from today. The need for a separate wing of such hospital was felt in view of the increasing cases of mother and child health related issues. Last year alone, 10,000 delivery cases were recorded in SMCH. According to Shilpi Rani Barman, SMCH has 1024 beds, 18 departments, 78 PG students. There is also a plan to open a cancer hospital and also a dental hospital. She shared the information that all the medical colleges of this state which are under Shankar Dev University, SMCH has been ranked 7 among 10.
Parimal Suklabaidya, Minister of PWD, chairman of SMCH Governing Body, presided over the meeting. Others present included Samir Kumar Sinha, principal secretary, health and family department, Prof. Ashok Baishya, executive director, NRHM, Kabindra Purkayastha, former union minister, all the Deputy Commissioners of three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi.