Healthcare services are being hampered in the country's seven police hospitals, that are supposed to take care of 1.35 lakh police personnel, owing to lack of initiative for transferring the posts and manpower recruited under the police hospitals modernisation project to revenue sector.
The uncertainty of jobs under the project has brought down the number of health professionals of these hospitals to 380 from 458.
While visiting the Central Police Hospital at Rajarbagh in the city, it was found that there has been no pathologist since last two months though a large number of patients throng the hospital everyday.
“In January 2006, two pathologists joined the hospital on deputation. But they left the hospital as soon as they managed better jobs elsewhere,” said an official of the hospital, adding that the hospital is now run by semi-skilled technologists.
Even there is no casualty ward which is a must for the people of a hazardous profession like the police.
The hospital also does not have any trauma centre or any intensive care unit while it lacks postoperative care unit, cardiology and urology wards.
In July 1997, initiatives were taken to improve the situation of the police hospitals, and accordingly Modernisation of Police Hospitals Project was taken up.
Under the project, Rajarbagh Central Police Hospital was upgraded to 250-bed hospital from 75 beds.
Similarly Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet divisional hospitals including Sarda Police Academy Hospital were also upgraded to 75 beds from 30.
Though it was mentioned in the project proposal that on its completion the entire manpower would be made permanent and they would get their salary from the revenue budget.
But no significant steps were taken since the completion of the project in June 30, 2005.
Following a report published in The Daily Star on March 23, the staffs of seven police hospitals, who had been suffering badly due to non-receipt of their salary for long seven months, have received the same.
But the issue of transferring the staffs is still hanging.
Dr Khandaker ATM Farhad Hossain, the project director and superintendent of police (hospitals), said the transferring of the posts and manpower to revenue sector is very important as 77 percent of hospital staffs are recruited under the project, and many of them have already left the job due to uncertainty.
Only 23 percent staffs, who are on deputation from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, belong to revenue sector.
“The hospitals possess only one-fourth of the required health professionals that points to the grave condition of healthcare services for police personnel who require more attention and service to raise their efficiency,” he added.
The Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs gave a favourable opinion on March 19 regarding the transfer of the staffs to revenue sector, he added.
Though Adviser for Home Affairs Major Gen (retd) M A Matin at a meeting on May 27 directed to form a committee with the joint secretary of (Operation and Management) the establishment ministry to take a decision within a week, a month has passed since then but no step was taken regarding the matter.
“It is the high time to transfer the staffs of the hospitals recruited under the project to revenue sector if we really want our police personnel to contribute more to the country by providing them with better healthcare facilities,” said the experts.