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CMCH to get status upgrade, but lack treatment facilities

Though the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) will soon be upgraded to the status of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), it will still lack modern treatment facilities for patients suffering from cancer. The state health department has not yet sent a proposal to the Centre to install modern machines required for treatment of cancer patients during the up-gradation programme. A senior official said that primarily there were proposals to procure some modern and costly machines to cater to cancer patients from the state, but the plan was annulled when the final proposals were sent to the Centre. “We had urged the state health department to install modern machines required for cancer treatment. We had proposed that an equipment like the linear accelerator which is a modern machine for radiotherapy, should be installed in the hospital but the idea was dropped because these machines are very costly,” said an official. Officials also said a total of INR 120 crore would be spent during this up-gradation programme, a major portion of which would be provided by the Centre. But the fund is too inadequate to buy costly equipment or machines. The main focus of the programme is to develop the infrastructure of the hospital. Some new buildings and departments would be set up with the funds provided by the Centre during the up-gradation programme. However, all the medical colleges in the state lack modern cancer facilities as new machines for the treatment of cancer patients are very costly and state health department did not show enough interest to install these. Recently, the state had sought expression of interest from the private healthcare establishments to provide modern treatment to the cancer patients referred by the state-run medical colleges at a subsidised rate. But none of the private hospitals from Kolkata showed interest in the project. The health department has sanctioned money to construct a building at NRS Medical College and Hospital which would house a linear accelerator machine. However, work for the building is yet to start and the health department remained silent about the procurement of the machine that costs nearly INR 10 crore. Hence, with no proposal being sent to the Centre to install modern cancer facilities at CMCH during its up-gradation programme, it has become clear that cancer patients would lack modern treatment facilities in the state-run hospital for at least two years until the facility is installed at NRS Medical College and Hospital.

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