West Bengal to permit govt hospitals to be used as personal medical faculties

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Tribune News Service

Kolkata, December 7

West Bengal government has invited bids for using large state government hospitals as private medical colleges in lieu of payment of user charges.

In a communique dated December 5, the West Bengal Health and Family Welfare Department (WBHFWD) sought expression of interest (EOI) for the use of government hospitals for facilitating the establishment of private medical colleges based on the National Medical Commission (NMC) guidelines.

According to the state government, the NMC guidelines allows the use of government hospitals with 300 beds or more as private medical colleges on a temporary basis.

The communique said the state government was receiving requests from project proponents interested in setting up private medical colleges for which they had lands/properties/ buildings (completed or under construction), but did not have an appropriate hospital ( 300 bedded hospital running for two years or more, to which they may show themselves to be attached to).

The communique added that project proponents were requesting the state government to allow them to use some of its facilities for a temporary period — for a few years — for enabling them to apply to the NMC for which they were ready to pay user charges to the state government, and ready to indemnify in whichever mode the government would decide.

The WBHFWD communique gave only five days for the submission of EOI by project proponents.

Since the deadline for application to NMC for the academic year 2021-22 is December 15, 2020, the application for EOI will have to be submitted by December 10, 2020, stated the communique.

The move has made Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar suspicious.

“Just one of the many happenings that call for focus on governance @MamataOfficial. Watch out for those who throw hat in the ring,” the Governor said a tweet with regard to the step.

Dhankhar also brought up the issue of the controversy pertaining to allegations of corruption in purchasing of medical equipment worth Rs 2,000 crore by the state government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. A three-member committee headed by the state home secretary was constituted to look into the allegations.

“Hope there is no repeat of #PANDEMICPURCHASE where transparency and accountability were casualty and even the eye wash probe is guarded secret,” Dhankhar wrote in his comment in another tweet.

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