Mumbai Fire Brigade to spend Rs 2.2 crore on annual health check-ups for staff

A BMC official said a private agency will be roped in to conduct 16 types of tests for the fire brigade’s 2,000 staff members during the 2021-23 period.

The Mumbai Fire Brigade will spend Rs 2.22 crore on the routine annual health check-up of firefighters for the next three years. The Fire Brigade has finalised a private agency to conduct health check-ups for its 2,000 staff members, including officers and firemen above 35 years of age.

According to an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), under the scheme M/s Apollo Clinic will be finalised for conducting 16 types of tests once a year for firefighters from 2021 to 2023. The proposal will be tabled before the Standing Committee on Wednesday.

The initiative has been taken up as per the recommendations made by a fact-finding committee formed in 2015 after a fire in Kalbadevi killed four fire brigade officials, including the then Chief Fire Officer Sunil Nesirkar. The committee had found that many firefighters were in poor health due to the stress of work and overburdening of tasks.

In 2015, all tests were done in BMC-run hospitals like KEM, Nair, Sion and Cooper Hospital, but the rush of outpatients at these hospitals delayed the tests. So from 2016, the fire brigade roped in a private agency, the contract period for which ends this year.

Fire brigade officials said relying on private hospitals has saved time as well as money. “Health check-ups for the entire eligible fire brigade members took seven to eight months in BMC hospitals. The officials also had to spend a day completing the procedures, which meant that we were paying overtime to other staff members to cover for those who had gone for check-ups,” said a BMC official.

The tests include hemogram, blood sugar, lipid profile, cardiac profile, eye examination and chest X-ray. Officials said that for 2021 and 2022, the department will pay Rs 3,600 per person for the check-up and in 2023 it will pay Rs 3,900 per person.

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