After missing several deadlines set earlier, the health department has set yet another deadline, of March 2022, to finally kick start the super speciality hospital planned at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) in Siliguri.
The health department today said it has started “reviewing the bottlenecks” in building the facility. Officials of the health department have said that once operational, the multidisciplinary centre with state-of-the-art facilities will offer specialised health treatment in the fields of plastic surgery, neurosurgery, advanced pediatric surgery and others. Many pieces of equipment have already arrived for the proposed specialised wing.
The officer on special duty for public health, Dr Susanta Kumar Roy, reviewed the matter today. Dr Roy visited the site and addressed a meeting with NBMCH authorities, and officials of the PWD, hospital services consultancy, and the Siliguri Municipal Corporation. “The project work is underway since 2015, but due to the tardy progress, the first agency was changed and another one has been assigned the work now. We have reviewed the project status and set a deadline of March next year for its functioning. We will expedite the work. Around 80 per cent of the civil work of the building has been completed,” Dr Roy said today.
However, sources said that they cannot say if the proposed hospital will be ready for operations within the new time frame. The construction of the six-storey dedicated hospital had been suspended after authorities removed the agency building it because of alleged tardy progress in 2018. Later, a new agency had been assigned to complete the pending work.
“New deadlines have been set almost every year, but never met. The project comes partly under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana,” a source said. The Union health ministry had approved the project worth more than Rs 150 crore in 2014, for the construction of the super-speciality wing. The state health department would engage the human resources.
The proposed facility will have a catheterization laboratory (cath lab) for cardiac procedures like angioplasty and angiogram. Doctors have said that the lab will ensure better healthcare for general patients and co-morbid Covid patients suffering from cardiac ailments.
According to Dr Roy, there will be laboratories, CT scan facility, minor OTs, MRI, X-Ray on the ground floor of the building, while there will be 21 OPDs, burn OT, 10-bed ICU on the first floor. On the second floor, there will be a 20-bed neurology ward, 22-bed neurosurgery ward, 22-bed plastic surgery ward, and Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates ward. On the third floor, there will have a 22-bed pediatric surgery facility, 20-bed cardiology facility, 15-bed dialysis unit, and 22-bed nephrology ward, while the fourth floor will have six OTs, cath labs and other facilities.
“The project has missed the deadlines, with the latest one being in August this year. We are still sceptical whether the hospital will be functional from March next year. The upcoming hospital would benefit patients to a large extent. The NBMCH refers patients with very critical cases to Kolkata. The facility will serve patients who generally need special treatment and, in absence of a super-speciality hospital, go to Kolkata or other places,” a senior doctor said.
The G+5 building is coming up on a 16,000 square meter built-up area said SK Bhatnagar, the project in charge of the hospital services consultancy corporation, on behalf of the Union ministry of health. The organisation is looking into civil construction work. “The project was supposed to be commissioned within August this year, but that cannot happen due to some hindrances. If we get the electricity and water connection within eight months, we will try to hand over the building within March,” Mr Bhatnagar said.
Meanwhile, Dr Roy expressed grievances over the lack of preparations at the proposed dedicated Covid pediatric intensive care unit at the NBMCH, even as the anticipated third wave of Covid-19 is expected to hit children. The set-up was supposed to be completed within July. Dr Roy asked officials to complete the infrastructure within 7 August, it is learnt.
Also today, a three-member supervisory committee was formed to monitor the activities of the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at the NBMCH. The patient welfare committee chairperson at the NBMCH, Dr Rudranath Bhattacharya, said the Principal, Prof Indrajit Saha, Superintendent Dr Sanjay Mallik and dean of student affairs Dr Sandip Sengupta are committee members.
Dr Bhattacharya said a drill to check the fire-fighting preparedness will be held at the NBMCH on 3 August.