EOI, DARJEELING, 29 Mar 2017: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is set to fulfill the long pending desire of the hill people when she officially inaugurates a MRI scan facility at Darjeeling district hospital on Thursday from Mirik.
The Darjeeling hills have remained deprived of this most basic facility in health care and the public have had to bear the brunt due to an MRC scan machine not being available. Presently, one has to travel all the way to Siliguri to avail of the facility which not only makes a dent to the pocket, but is also time-consuming and cumbersome.
The MRI facility remained elusive even though the state government has had made a number of up-gradations in the district hospital. The machine has been established in the premises of the Victoria hospital, just across the district hospital also known as Eden, at a cost of about Rs9 crore in the PPP (public, private partnership) model.
“We lacked the MRI facility which is an essential part in treating patients in any hospital. It has come late but it is worth it. People will benefit as it will save time and money,” said Dawa Bhutia, an anaesthetist at the district hospital.
Two technicians from Cooch Behar and Kurseong, a receptionist and a General Nursing Mid-wifery (GNM) have been appointed to run the facility. The official inauguration of the MRI facility by the chief minister is on March 30, but it became operational from February. “We are running it on a trial basis at present. But we have lots of patients coming to avail of the facility,” said a hospital official not wishing to be named. Two rates, one government and the other private, have been fixed. Accordingly, patients of the government hospital will have to pay a minimum of Rs 2250 and a maximum of Rs 4650 for different types of MRI investigations. On the other hand, patients from private nursing homes or clinics will have to pay from Rs 3250 to Rs 5500.
“If you compare the rates with that in Siliguri, they are nearly half. In Siliguri hospital one has to pay a minimum amount of Rs 5000 for an MRI scan, add to it vehicle and food expenditure. Also, a person may have to wait for a day to get their report which also incurs further expenses,” the official said.
Reports for the investigations will be provided to patients the following day. The state government will also put in place a CT scan facility in Kalimpong district and Kurseong sub-division, work for which is already in progress.
On Thursday, the chief minister, who is on a five-day tour of north Bengal, will declare Mirik as a new sub-division and also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for a number of development projects.