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Top Kolkata Hospitals Fail Fire Test, Face Shutdown

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Some of the best known hospitals and nursing homes in the city — including Apollo Gleneagles Day Care Centre at Gariahat, and Nightingale Hospital — may get a shut-down order after the Pujas for failing fire safety norms. Most of them failed a safety inspection a few months ago and do not qualify for an operating licence under the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act. The fire services department has already shortlisted some hospitals that may be served closure notices.

Only a few conformed to the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) guidelines. “We have given no-objection to 11 healthcare facilities on September 30. They include CMRI, Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Ruby General Hospital, BM Birla Heart Research Centre and Mission of Mercy,” said ADG, fire services, D P Biswas.

Evacuation facilities are absent in most city hospitals, say sources. For instance, Nightingale Hospital on Shakespeare Sarani has a single staircase for entry and exit. “We have been asked to upgrade fire facilities. We are doing it,” the hospital’s marketing manager Anjan Roy told TOI. The Apollo Gleneagles Day Care Centre at Gariahat has no space for fire tenders, say sources. The parking lot in the front is so packed all the time that a fire engine cannot make its way in case of an emergency. Asked about it, hospital CEO Rupali Basu said she was travelling and couldn’t make a comment.

Fire officials were shocked to see that the basement of many hospitals have been turned into medical stores and pharmacies and that in many cases, the emergency section encroaches the exit. This is the reason why a number of hospitals like Woodlands Nursing Home, Belle View, R N Tagore, Medica and Bhagirathi Neotia are yet to get the no-objection from the fire services department, which is a must for an operating licence from the health department, say sources, adding that these hospitals have been running for months without licence.

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