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Diploma course for doctors, promote nurses as ‘semi-doctors’, employ nurses after 15-day training: Mamata Banerjee’s suggestions to fill up vacancies

Mamata Banerjee told the health department officials that they can think about starting a diploma course for doctors, similar to the existing diploma courses for engineers.

Several new hospitals have been set up in West Bengal in recent times, increasing access to healthcare by people. But the state is facing the problem of shortage of doctors to run those hospitals. Amid this, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has come up with ‘innovative’ ideas to address the problem. She has suggested that diploma courses should be introduced for doctors. She also suggested that senior nurses could be promoted as ‘semi-doctors’.

During a ‘Utkarsh Bangla’ review meeting at Nabanna on Thursday, Mamata Banerjee made these suggestions to address the issue of the shortage of doctors. The CM told the health department officials that they can think about starting a diploma course for doctors, similar to the existing diploma courses for engineers.

The CM said, ‘See if we can start a diploma course for doctors like engineers. Then many boys and girls will get opportunities in medical courses. It takes 5 years to train all the doctors we are getting. It takes a lot of time. We employ junior doctors. But they have to study and take exams. Apart from this if we can launch a diploma course, we can employ them in primary health centres. It will give good results.’

Mamata Banerjee further added, ‘We can start diploma courses. Check it out. Diploma training can be given in hospitals. There are big seminar halls, government convention halls, you can train there too. Professor doctors will give training.’

The West Bengal Chief Minister also repeated a suggestion she had made earlier, to employ senior nurses as doctors to provide basic healthcare. She said that nurses who are 5-6 years from retirement, or 10 years away, can be employed at primary health centres. She said that they can’t be called without a medical degree, they could be called ‘semi-doctors’.

She said that while doctors write prescriptions, nurses implement them, and they are therefore qualified to treat patients. ‘Check the legal issues. They can give first aid by giving saline, oxygen and life-giving medicine,’ the CM told the officials.

‘Those who have been for a long time, who may have 5-7-10 years left to retire… see if they can do it or not. You don’t have to go into legal matters again in everything. The aspect of humanity should also be seen. Attending to a patient is the first task of the health department. Giving the patient saline, giving oxygen and life-sustaining drugs, they can help stabilize the patient,’ she added.

In another proposal to increase the number of healthcare workers, Mamata Banerjee said that new nurses can be employed after a training of just 15 days. The CM argued that the job of a nurse is very simple and it should not take more than 15 days to train them.

‘Administering bandage, saline, injection, oxygen or proper medicine, 15 days is enough to train them for that. Nurses will not do surgery after all. Moreover, senior nurses are there for complex works,’ she said. The CM added that such nurses can be considered as junior nurses, and given training accordingly. She also asked the officials to look into opening 100 more nursing training institutes in every district.

Mamata Banerjee also made similar suggestions to fill up vacancies in other departments as well. She ordered to complete the recruitment of all police posts within the next three months, asking to reduce their training period to seven days instead of six months. She said she feels that training of six months for cops is a ‘waste of time’.

She said, “Instead of six months, send them to the police station with seven days of training. Increase the force and then call them for seven days of every month and train them. That is, they work 21 days of the month and complete the rest of the process with training for the remaining seven days. I feel that training for such a long time is a waste of time.”

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