Official visits Kozhikode mental

P.P. Preetha, Director-in-charge, Health Services, on Tuesday visited the Government Mental Health Centre, Kozhikode, in the wake of frequent instances of security lapses being reported from there.

K.C. Ramesan, superintendent of the centre, is under suspension now after a remand prisoner lodged there recently died in a road accident after escaping from the facility. Dr. Preetha was asked by Health Minister Veena George to visit the centre to take stock of the situation. She was accompanied by V. Ummer Farooq, District Medical Officer. A. Naveen, District Programme Manager, National Health Mission. V.V. Asha, Deputy Superintendent. They inspected all the wards and blocks and spoke to some residents as well.

Sources said the official was expected to submit a report to the Health Minister on Wednesday.

The visit is in the wake of demands to increase the number of health staff and security personnel at the centre. Most buildings are in a dilapidated state. The compound wall isn't safe enough. Some patients have complained about rat menace too.

The Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) had launched a strike in protest against what they called the unilateral official action against Dr. Ramesan, when he was about to retire in two months. They'd also said that the action was taken when he was expected to be promoted to a higher post by the Departmental Promotion Committee. The KGMOA pointed out that it was unfair to target Dr. Ramesan over security lapses, as the police were vested with the responsibility to insure the safety of remand prisoners. Doctors at the centre had boycotted outpatient services and were planning to extend the strike to other government hospitals in the district.

However, they suspended the agitation till Friday after holding talks with Ms. George on Monday. The Minister promised to look into the issue once she received a report from Dr. Preetha on Wednesday. The official action against Dr. Ramesan could be revoked, said the sources.

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