Kolkata: In the wake of the Gorakhpur hospital tragedy where at least 30 children died due to ‘disruption’ of liquid oxygen supply, the West Bengal government has undertaken a review of the state’s healthcare system.
Sources said senior officials at the West Bengal Medical Services Corporation (WBMSC) swung into action and cross-checked due payments, medicine supply chains and maintenance of government-run hospitals in the state.
“We don’t want to take any chances and are ensuring that things are on track. So, far we have not found any major issues. Some minor issues will be resolved soon,” a senior official at WBMSC said.
“We have two wings — procurement wing and engineering wing. Our job is to efficiently procure and supply quality drugs and medicines in time to all hospitals, efficient procurement of equipment and regular maintenance of the same, including supply of chemicals and reagents to all hospitals and medical colleges.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, has been serious about the healthcare facility in hospitals and has paid surprise visits to hospitals in the past.
The state bagged second place for the highest reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) among all the states in the country.
In 2011, the IMR was alarming – 32. In six years, the State Health Department has been able to reduce it to 26.
Speaking to News18, Minister of State for Health, Chandrima Bhattacharya, said, “Whatever happened in Gorakhpur is alarming. Can you imagine, supplier stopped giving oxygen due to non-payment?
It is unfortunate that so many innocent lives were lost.”
She said, “In Bengal, we are fully prepared to provide best health care facilities to people and children. I personally go for sudden inspection and if there is any issue I try to resolve it soon. It is true that in BC Roy hospital such incidents were common during Left rule but now things have changed. But yes, we are taking stock of health situation in Bengal and we are committed to provide best health services to children.”
On the context of payments to vendors (while referring to Gorakhpur issue), she said, “Payment is not an issue with us and if there is any issue, we have an online process through which we try to resolve grievances of vendors and suppliers.”
Meanwhile, the state health department has alerted all the government run hospitals especially children units to take precautionary measures and were ordered to be extra vigilant in case of supply chain.