Kolkata, April 24 (IANS) The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT), now stationed in Kolkata on Friday, sought clarifications from the state government on patients having to wait for a long time to receive the results of their coronavirus tests and asked for details on the tests being done in the state.
In a letter to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha a day after the team visited the CNCI and Bangur Covid hospitals and interacted with the health authorities, IMCT leader Apurva Chandra pointed out that a large number of patients in the isolation wards of the two hospitals were awaiting Covid test results for five days or longer.
“Specifically at CNCI, there were four patients since April 16 awaiting test result, two since April 17 and three since April 18. Some of the patients have tested negative. It is not clear why the test results should take such a long time and there is a danger of Covid negative patient acquiring the infection at the hospital while awaiting his test result,” said Chandra.
Describing as “chaotic” the patient admission at Bangur Hospital, he alleged there was no social distancing in the waiting area where two of the patients seemed in “very poor health” with no medical support available.
He alleged that patients referred to Bangur Afrom other medical facilities are left “on their own to report to the hospital and are not escorted”.
“This would always give the scope for some patients not turning up or delaying reporting to the hospital,” he said.
The team also referred to the low number of ventillators in Bangur hospital, and sought records in support of the government claim that patients were transferred to other health facilities if ventilator was not available.
Refering to reports in the social media that dead bodies were lying on beds in a ward, Chandra asked the government to furnish records on how much time is needed to issue a death certificate and shift a body to the mortuary.
With regard to the state government’s claim that the number of tests have gone up 400/day to 900/day, the IMCT wanted to know how many of them were repeated tests and how many were of first time patients.
Chandra also queried about efforts on the part of the state to increase its testing capacity to 2,500 to 5,000 per day and the time period needed to reach such level.
Last but not the least, Chandra pointed out that while the state government has a scheme to provide compensation of Rs 10 lakh in case of death of a health worker due to Covid, the centre gives out Rs 50 lakh in such an unfortunate eventuality. “The IMCT was informed that a health worker in West Bengal is free to choose any of the options. Any orders of the state government in this regard may be provided”.