The state government is planning to launch a 24X7 helpline to provide patients and their relatives a single window to answer their healthcare-related queries.
According to Chandrima Bhattacharya, the Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare, the helpline will initially extend to only the medical colleges in the city, but will eventually be extended to all hospitals in the state.
The helpline number — which, according to sources, will be finalized soon — could be dialed from either a landline or a mobile phone but it will not be toll-free. "A dedicated number has been planned, for which the health department has tied up with a call centre," the minister added.
Training of health officials and call centre officials will start from next week.
What kind of help could you expect from the helpline?
Where to get B-ve blood at, say, 11 PM or perhaps where to provide a specific treatment for a critically ill patient – these are some of the factoids one can call up the soon-to-be-launched helpline to get information on. The call centre workers who would answer the calls will have at their disposal a database of "all sorts of such life-saving information", according to a Health Department official. Relatives of a patient who is in hospital would also be able to find out about the progress of the patient through the helpline.
The helpline would also be of use while lodging complaints. Patients or their relatives, if unhappy with services of doctors and other health staff, can also address their grievances through the helpline.
Hoax Callers Beware
There will be a system in place to track incoming calls and it would be an easy task to detect whether a particular caller is genuinely seeking help or whether it is a prank call.
This is a very good initiative, something sorely needed to lift the condition of the public healthcare system to much higher standards.
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