Darjeeling Gets its First MRI Unit
The MRI unit has been installed at the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital in a Public Private Partnership mode. The Chief Minister inaugurated the fair price diagnostic MRI at Darjeeling District Hospital in a government programme in Mirik on Thursday. This project under the department of Health and Family Welfare, government of Bengal has been completed at a cost of Rs 10.28 crore. Incidentally, there was no MRI or CT scan facility available in either government or private medical facilities in the Hills. In cases of emergencies, including accidents, patients had to undertake a 76-km journey from Darjeeling town to Siliguri through difficult terrain for an MRI. There were numerous instances where the patients failed to survive the journey. Same was the case with Kalimpong and Kurseong. "By May, we will install a similar MRI facility in the Kalimpong district hospital too. Dialysis units will also be installed in the Darjeeling District Hospital within four months. This is a state-of-the-art MRI unit. It will benefit all as an MRI can be done in the golden hour (within one hour of an emergency)," stated Dr Asit Biswas, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Darjeeling. Two technicians and a nurse has been appointed by the private agency to run the facility. Two rates, one for the government hospital and the other for private nursing homes, have been fixed. Patients of the government hospital will have to pay a minimum of Rs 2,250 and a maximum of Rs 4,650 for different types of MRI investigations. On the other hand, patients from private nursing homes or clinics will have to pay between Rs 3,250 to Rs 5,500. "Even for private nursing homes the rates are cost effective taking into consideration the cost of traveling to Siliguri. It will also save precious time," stated a private medical practitioner.