Health officials, doctors and para-medical staff were exhorted on Monday by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to improve delivery standards within the available infrastructure.

Coming down heavily on the bankruptcy of hospital infrastructure, Ms. Banerjee, who also holds the Health portfolio, said that it could not be improved immediately due to lack of funds.

“Priorities will have to be listed within available infrastructure so that health delivery standards can be improved,” she said at a meeting organised with health officials of all levels here.

“We do not have money to pay salaries. I am trying to make arrangements for that now which will take six to eight months to settle,” Ms. Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister said that the main lacunae noticed was lack of coordination among the district, block and sub-divisional levels.

Ms. Banerjee said that decisions taken at the top did not reach the block level because of gap in coordination.

She said that this was acting as the main deterrent in implementation of decisions. Ms. Banerjee also pointed out that the condition of the primary health centres were very poor.

“Since there is no infrastructure available with sub-divisional and district hospitals, there is a huge rush in government hospitals,” she said.

“What have they done in the last 35 years? Our first priority is to deal with health and education, the two departments which have earned a bad name”, she said.

Ms. Banerjee also stressed on improving cleanliness in hospitals and health centres.

On government plans, she said that new district hospitals with basic facilities would be set up and primary health centres with OPDs.

The Chief Minister said that hospitals in Asansol, Bishnupur, Contai, Kharagpur, Diamond Harbour and Basirhat would be upgraded to district level hospitals.

She also complained of lack of trained nursing staff available in the State.

The Chief Minister also called performance appraisal of health officials. “What is required is performance appraisal and political considerations will have no place from now on.”

To tide over the lack of finance, she said that MPLAD and MLALAD funds could be used to marginally improve infrastructure.