The claims of ensuring better healthcare by the government notwithstanding, a callous and indifferent attitude of the state’s Health Department has come to fore at Sub-District Hospital Sopore. The hospital catering to the health requirements of three major towns is functioning without a registered Blood Bank.
Just few years back, the hospital’s operation theatre used to function only till 4 in the afternoon and after that the medical emergency cases would be referred to Srinagar for treatment, thus adding to the already existing rush of patients in the Srinagar hospitals.
Sources in the hospital say that the temporary Blood Bank operating within the hospital is being run unofficially, without a nod from National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), which is the supervising body, thus risking the precious lives in the hospital.
The hospital can be termed as the mini-Lalla Ded Hospital of the district, as it is facing huge rush of maternity patients from district Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara, a para medic working in the hospital said.
With the operation of 24 hours operation theatre in the hospital, the locals had taken a sigh of relief as there was no longer any need to refer the patients to Srinagar, but the ill-functioning of the Blood Bank, as of now, is making the fate of 24 hours operation theatre look dark, as it can be shut down anytime.
“The operation theatre is totally dependent on the proper functioning of the Blood Bank in the hospital, which is missing and with the result the fate of operation theatre is not certain,” said another paramedic in the hospital.
As per sources, the NACO team that visited the hospital some years ago had refused to register the already operational Blood Bank in the hospital, as there was total lack of equipments and infrastructure required to set up a blood bank.
However, the hospital has purchased required equipments, but the purchases are nowhere to the actual requirement needed to setup a full fledged blood bank.
The sources said that the NACO team has asked for full fledged equipments, plus, a structure with seven different cabins, but that is still missing at the hospital.
Experts are saying that there is a dire need of having fully functioning Blood Bank in the hospital as it is catering to the huge rush of patients. In addition, it can also reduce the referral rate from the hospital, thus, it can also help in reducing the pressure of patient inflow to various other hospital including those in Srinagar.
As of now the Blood Bank is just for the name with no considerable staff and is being over seen by a paramedic and some volunteers.
When asked how the Blood Bank was operating without any formal registration and why the hospital administration has taken such a huge risk of their own, an official at the hospital said that “the initiative was taken to help the patients who were being continuously shifter either to District Hospital Baramulla or to the hospitals in Srinagar.”
Interestingly, the paramedics operating the Bank used to make patients bring a letter from local Auqaf Committee stating that the procedure is being done as per their wishes and (attendants) will be solely responsible for any untoward incident that might occur.
Sources said that this was done to save the skin of those who were operating the Bank, who were, and are running a Blood Bank beyond rules.
Sources also revealed that some elements do not want the Blood Bank to operate in the hospital, as they don’t want the 24 hours operation theatre facility in the hospital.
“These forces are trying their best to create hurdles in registration process of the Blood Bank so that the operation theatre does not have to be functi0onal for 24 hours,” the sources added.
The officials at the hospital said that they are expecting the visit of NACO team soon, and are hopeful that this time the team will give a nod to the functioning of the Blood Bank.
Later, when this reporter talked to the BMO, Sopore Dr. Sami, he said that there was not any issue that the hospital is facing right now. He did not even mention the Blood Bank running in the hospital beyond rules.
“No, there is no issue that the hospital is facing, we are doing well as compared to other District hospitals,” he said.