Chennai: When the Health Minister said that he would ensure that he cleaned up every state-run hospital in Tamil Nadu, even if it meant inspecting every one of them personally, he certainly wasn’t speaking in jest. Continuing his ‘clean-up drive’, Dr V S Vijay visited the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (IOG), which is attached to the Madras Medical College, and conducted his fourth surprise inspection in the past few days.
Understandably, it wasn’t as dramatic as the previous three visits had been — owing to the fact that most hospitals have begun sprucing up their campuses and keeping themselves in working order, in anticipation of a sudden inspection. Given the fact that the IOG is an institution that specializes in birthing, prenatal and postnatal care for women and children, most of the wards were in good shape to begin with, contended the hospital’s medical administrator. He started the inspection in the outpatient ward and proceeded to minutely look at the levels of hygiene in the antenatal, prenatal and caesarean wards. He was accompanied by Director of Medical Education Dr C Vamsadhara and MMC Dean Dr V Kanagasabai, amongst other top officials.
However, where there was an absence of rats, cats, dogs and other forms of vermin, the Minister began to crackdown on issues relating to staff pressing patients for bribes and ‘gifts’ for information relating to just born children. The Minister revealed that he had received complaints from various patients that nurses and ward boys had the practice of asking for monetary gifts ranging from Rs 500 - 1000 just to inform waiting relatives if their child was a boy or a girl, and even allow them to illegally enter the ward to see mother and new born.
“This is a practice that should not continue. We are in the noble profession of saving lives and we should not be mixing corruption with this,” he told the employees of IOG. Responding immediately to this complaint, MMC Dean Dr V Kanagasabai assured the minister that he would stem this problem within a week by taking stern action.
Considering the fact that hospital employees were not maintaining work hours, the Minister suggested that they incorporate a biometric attendance system to ensure that time discipline is maintained. The suggestion was taken up and the hospital authorities have decided to implement the same immediately.
It may be recalled that the crackdown on bad hygiene and unsanitary conditions in government hospitals began after the face of a 12-day-old child was found to have been gnawed on by a rat inside the incubator room of the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, a week ago. Following a sharp statement to better conditions by the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Dr Vijay has visited Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Institute of Child Health and the Kasturba Gandhi Hospital previously.