In a decision that will go a long way in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, West Bengal has doubled the number of nursing colleges run by the State Government. So far the State had nine such colleges — five in Kolkata and four in other districts — and now nine more are being set up immediately.
Healthcare professionals have time and again reiterated that availability of nurses — more than that of doctors — were essential in fighting a pandemic and that their shortage would hit a hospital harder than anything else.
“At present there is a dearth of nursing personnel in the State. To get more trained B.Sc./M.Sc. nursing personnel for the purpose of providing better medical care, nine new colleges are to be established using available infrastructures of concerned sub-divisional hospitals/district hospitals/medical colleges and hospitals,” a State Government order, dated April 29, said.
According to sources, the decision was taken earlier in the year but was put on hold once the Assembly elections in the State were announced. The order was finally issued once the second wave of COVID-19 hit West Bengal.
The setting up of these new colleges will not only produce nurses at a time when the healthcare system in facing shortages of all kinds but also generate employment and lead to the long-pending promotion of many nursing staff.
Of these nine nursing colleges, where courses will begin immediately for the 2021-2025, only one is located in Kolkata and remaining outside the city: two in Howrah and one each in Kalimpong, Purba Medinipur, Murshidabad, Paschim Medinipur, Diamond Harbour and Birbhum. The April-29 order has also named their acting principals — almost all of them currently posted in various government hospitals in Kolkata.