More than two months have passed since the Directorate of Health Services issued an order to start a six-bed Intensive Care Unit at Raiganj district hospital but the facility is yet to start functioning. Seriously ill patients continue to remain deprived of the service.
In keeping with the need for an isolation unit for patients in critical condition, the North Dinajpur district health authorities introduced a Special Observation Unit at the Raiganj district hospital in 2001. It was open for six years. Last year, the Raiganj district hospital authorities withdrew the service from the hospital due to a staff shortage. Since then, the residents of North Dinajpur district are deprived of the service. Different social welfare organisations including the West Dinajpur Chambers of Commerce urged the district administration to restart the SOU several times but to no avail.
In the interim, the Union information and broadcasting minister Mr Priyaranjan Dasmunshi fell ill in Raiganj in June and was admitted to the Raiganj district hospital. But he could not be given ICU service due to the absence of an isolation unit, which prompted his shifting to Kolkata for treatment. Following the incident, the Directorate of Health Services, Kolkata ordered that an ICU be started in the existing building of Raiganj district hospital. The facility has not been opened yet.
The secretary of West Dinajpur Chambers of Commerce Mr Jainarayan Somani said: “We are confused with the delay in the matter.”
Explaining the situation, the chief medical officer of health of North Dinajpur Dr SS Shahoo said: “Though building and other materials for the ICU are being stored in the hospital, we are yet to get a cardiologist and a technical person, essential to run the unit. We have asked the Directorate of Health Services authorities to arrange for them. The ICU would start functioning as soon as they reach.”