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Wednesday 14 December 2011

Nightingale faces shut notice

Nightingale faces shut notice

Nightingale Diagnostic and Medicare Centre is set to be barred from admitting patients after a government inspection on Tuesday revealed the hospital had been operating without renewing its fire-safety certificate.
“I am told the hospital does not have the minimum fire-fighting measures. It has been operating in such an unsafe manner that we feel compelled to ask the hospital authorities to suspend admission of patients for the time being,” fire and emergency services minister Javed Ahmed Khan said.
A spokesperson for the Shakespeare Sarani hospital said no such notice had arrived till late on Tuesday, but a senior fire department official insisted the minister’s order would be executed on Wednesday.
If Nightingale is forced to stop admitting patients, it will be the first health care facility in town to be penalised on the basis of a post-AMRI fire check.
Calcutta Mercy Hospital voluntarily stopped taking in patients on Monday, citing resistance from the workers’ union to the management’s decision to clear out parts of the basement.
Nightingale will be allowed to operate the hospital as long as the last of the 56 patients already admitted there isn’t discharged. The diagnostic centre and the outpatient department can also function as usual, a fire department official said.
The 56 in-house patients are spread across rooms and wards on the third and fourth floors of the 11-storey building. The top six floors house various offices.
Sources said the four-member team that conducted Tuesday’s inspection found the first violation at the gate. The main entry to the hospital is 3.1 metres wide, against the minimum prescribed width of 3.5 metres.
“A fire engine needs at least 3.5 metres of road space to enter a premises without difficulty,” said Baren Sen, a former fire services director who was in the team.
In the basement, the officials found six congested rooms.
The team next inspected the ground floor of the annexe, where they found a kitchen with LPG cylinders in operation without a fire licence, an official said.
“When the guards were asked to demonstrate how to use a fire extinguisher, they fumbled. A guard took close to 10 minutes to open the seal and became so nervous that he aimed the mixture of dry chemical and carbon dioxide at the inspection team,” said the additional director-general of fire services, Debapriya Biswas.
The hospital is likely to be given a fortnight to correct the deficiencies before a review.
“We will comply with all norms,” senior hospital administrator Ranendra Nath Basu toldMetro.

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