The bland run-of-the-mill white and green sheets will soon go off government hospitals here. The Darjeeling district health department has started the process to use multi-coloured bed sheets for different days a week at all state-run health facilities.

The move follows directives issued by the health and family welfare department, while the initiative is part of the cleanliness, hygiene and infection control drive in public health facilities. Health experts have said that there have been complaints from patients that bed sheets were hardly changed in the hospitals.

The sheets will now come in pink, sky blue, dark blue, yellow and ‘others.’ “The move will help ensure that bed sheets are changed every day. At present, the same old white and green sheets are used in hospital beds,” officials said. “We have received the order that says that there will be different colour-coded bed sheets for each day of the week.

The NBMCH has already sent the requisition for the sheets,” said North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) superintendent Dr Maitrayee Kar. With a staggering 1200 beds, NBMCH is considered a premier state-run health facility in the region. An NBMCH official said the colours will ensure that the sheets are changed every day.

“The guidelines mentioning the days and the corresponding colours of the bed sheets would be displayed. We will procure sufficient stocks of the sheets. The move is aimed at better linen management and improved hygiene,” the official said.

Public health experts have said there have been allegations from patients that one bed sheet was used for several days and that this could give rise to infections. “Efforts are being made to keep state-run health facilities clean. However, there is always room for improvement and the move will address the issue of hygiene and ensure better housekeeping,” said an expert.

There are 12 block hospitals (eight in the Hills and four in the Plains), two district hospitals (Darjeeling and Siliguri), Kalimpong hospital will be upgraded as district hospital, and one sub-divisional hospital in Kurseong.

Medical superintendent of the Siliguri District Hospital, Dr Amitabha Mondal, too said steps were being taken to use the colourful sheets in the hospital’s 530 beds. Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health, Dr Paralay Acharya, said the process to implement the colour sheets was underway. “We have introduced the coloured bed sheets at some health facilities, but it will take a few more months before we implement the order in a full-fledged manner,” Dr Acharya said.