In a disturbing revelation, the nursing staff at the Harirampur rural hospital has been doubling as doctors and treating patients there, thanks to the government’s decision to release the four doctors who left the hospital last week to pursue higher education elsewhere.

It is learnt that the district health department “tried to appoint” three doctors from Balurghat and Gangarampur hospital there, but they have not joined the rural hospital yet. However, the Block Medical Officer of Health has assured that the situation would be normal within a few days’ time.

“Services are being provided in the rural hospital by one doctor and the nursing staff,” sources at the hospital said, adding that the doctors’ crunch has, however, hit the overall health services in the Harirampur rural hospital. “While there were five doctors in the hospital even last week, it’s the nursing staff members that are serving the patients as doctors,” the sources said.

It is learnt that the nurses are also prescribing medicines for the patients.

As per records at the rural hospital, more than 200 patients avail of the health facilities in the hospital every day.

“The indoor department too was good, but last week, the four doctors were selected for higher education and the state health department ordered their release,” sources said.

The BMOH of Harirampur released them and urged the Chief Medical Officer of Health, South Dinajpur, to arrange for new doctors. Three doctors were sent from different hospitals, but only one has joined so far, it is learnt.

“There is no doctor in the Outpatient department, and the nurse are taking care of the patients and prescribing medicines,” sources said.

“As per instructions, I have released the doctors and informed the district health department. The district health department has arranged for three doctors, but due to some unknown reasons, two have not yet joined. We hope that the situation will normalize within a few days,” Block Medical Officer of Health, Sk Souvik Alam, said.