GATE PASS AT CMCH Staff happy, attendants not so much

The situation of Chittagong Medical College Hospital has significantly changed after the authorities introduced a new system for visitors and attendants of patients last month, CMCH officials said.

It was found that there was no chaos of visitors inside the wards; nor was there any gathering of unwanted people in the hospital corridors unlike the past.

As per the system introduced on November 18, a patient admitted to the hospital gets two gate passes and will be allowed to have two attendants with him or her, said CMCH officials, adding that attendants and visitors will have to show the passes to security personnel at entrances to go inside the hospital.

Patients have to collect a gate pass in exchange for Tk 50, which is refundable, from the nursing-in-charge of the respective wards.

Sources said the CMCH authorities came up with the move as they received a lot of complaints from patients of stealing their valuables in different wards.

They added that besides this, brokers of different private clinics, diagnostic centres and pharmacies were seen to move in different wards to deceive patients.

Prabir Kumar Das, associate professor and head of cardiology at CMCH, on Wednesday told The Daily Star that a visible change was seen after the new system had been introduced.

“Earlier, we faced difficulties in providing treatment to patients as unwanted people gathered in his ward,” he said, adding, “We could not differentiate the attendants of patients from the outsiders.”

“Now, every attendant has to hang the gate pass around their neck and so we can identify them easily,” he said. “My ward is now free from the brokers’ nuisance and other unwanted people.”

Hailing the new system, Minara Khanam, nursing superintendent at CMCH, said, “We often used to get allegations of stealing valuables from different wards, but we have not got a single complaint after introduction of the new system.”

Many outsiders and vagabonds were seen sleeping in the hospital corridors at night, said Rajib Kumar Dey, a ward master at CMCH. “When we asked them who they were, they said they were the attendants of patients.”

Now, every attendant has to carry the gate pass and so the outsiders cannot enter the hospital. They can walk in the corridors comfortably, he said.

Meanwhile, some attendants said only two gate passes cannot meet their necessity and they demanded that the authorities allow at least three gate passes for a patient.

Talking to this newspaper, Timir Chowdhury, a patient’s attendant, said his son was admitted to the hospital and his wife was attending him all the time. “I have to go outside to buy medicine and other necessaries.”

They have two gate passes, he added.

“My son’s uncle and aunt came to the hospital to see him on Monday, but they had to wait to go inside the hospital for an hour as they did not have any gate pass.

“I was outside when they called me. I reached there after an hour and gave my gate pass to the uncle to enter the hospital … when he came out, I gave the pass to the aunt and then she went inside. I could only get in the hospital when she came out.”

“Had we have an extra gate pass, my wife could have given it to them and I would not have rushed there immediately,” he said.

Contacted, CMCH Director Brig Gen Jalal Uddin said he did not receive any such complaint from patients.

“We are trying to improve the hospital condition, and  decisions will be made after considering overall situation.”