Visitors, attendants will get passes to enter; stipulated hours to be strictly adhered to

In a month’s time, entry of visitors to all government medical college hospitals will be restricted, as the Health department is planning to strictly enforce the visitors’ and attendants’ pass system.

The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project, which has created the system for all major hospitals in the State, has now finalised it.

“All medical college hospitals and district hospitals will be covered. Each patient will receive one attendant pass and one visitor pass. One attendant can stay with the patient for 24 hours, while one visitor will be allowed during the stipulated time. This system is already in place at government hospitals but needs proper enforcement,” an official said.

Official visiting hours at government hospitals are from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and attendants are allowed to take in breakfast and lunch between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 12 noon to 2 p.m., but these timings are rarely followed at hospitals

Officials are confident that this system will work well now, as several hospitals are getting their vacant posts of security personnel filled. The recruitment, which has been outsourced to a private agency, will be completed by the end of December, the official said.

For medical college hospitals, this system will help avoid overcrowding at wards, thereby helping in better maintenance of the premises.

“With the security guards having started work, there is better crowd management. The number of visitors has come down to an extent. We have locked the entrance to the casualty and deployed a security guard to allow only one attendant per patient at the zero-delay ward,” said S. Geethalakshmi, dean of Government Stanley Hospital. The hospital has 1,400 beds.

V. Kanagasabai, dean, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital said they were already issuing passes for patients in intensive care wards.

“We will take steps to ensure that the pass system is implemented properly,” he said. The eight institutions under Madras Medical College account for a total of 9,200 beds.

However, implementation of the system will face difficulties as has been evident previously. “We cannot ask people from other districts who come to visit their relatives to come in only during visiting hours,” an official said.

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