BJP’s national spokesperson Raju Bista, today, criticised the public health care system in West Bengal. “Public healthcare system in West Bengal has been in ventilator for the past ten years and no one knows this better than the doctors, nurses, healthcare staff, pharmacists, ambulance drivers and those associated with the healthcare sector,” Darjeeling MP Mr Bista said, adding, “West Bengal is suffering from acute healthcare crisis and if remedial actions are not taken urgently, soon the entire system is bound to collapse.”

According to him, the hospitals are short-staffed, overburdened and under-equipped across the state, as a result of which the doctors, nurses and all other health care workers have been working under considerable stress at a great risk to their personal health and well-being.

The MP also claimed that in north Bengal, the situation is even more precarious. “Even we do not have proper health care infrastructure to begin with and acute shortage of health facilities has jeopardized numerous lives across the region,” he added.

The BJP spokesperson came down heavily on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also the health minister, citing comparative examples of health care expenses per person in India. “While on an average India spends Rs 1482 per person annually towards heath care, West Bengal spends only Rs 988 per person,” Mr Bista claimed.

“In West Bengal, there are only 0.86 beds available per 1000 patients, which is one of the lowest in India. Trinamul Congress led government has absolutely failed to recruit health care workers across the state, leading to acute shortage of staff in hospitals,” he mentioned.

According to him, in Primary Health Centres, sanctioned posts are 1326, out of which 516 posts remain vacant. Similarly, Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres, sanctioned posts for nurses are 7062, out of which 1251 posts remain vacant. On the other hand, male health workers in sub-centres, sanctioned posts are 9171, out of which 7139 posts remain vacant; and in terms of specialists like surgeons, physicians, Pediatricians and others in Community Health Centres out of total sanctioned posts of 574, there are 503 vacant posts.

“This has left our healthcare system crumbling,” Darjeeling MP said, adding, “I am seriously considering recommending the doctors, nurses, ward boys, radiologists, pharmacists, ambulance drivers and other healthcare workers who serve at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) for special Union Health Minister’s Award, because only the most dedicated to public service would risk their own lives to continue serving the general public in a campus as filthy and as unhygienic as NBMCH.”