Srinagar: Six tertiary-care hospitals associated with Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar are facing an acute shortage of emergency drugs and consumables as the Medical Supplies Corporation has failed to replenish essential stock despite repeated requests.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that the Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) has delayed the tendering process to purchase life-saving drugs and equipment for government-run hospitals.
“Patients are facing life threat due to the shortage of drugs including emergency antibiotics, fluids, surgical consumables like suture material, cotton and gauze,” they said.
“The delay is causing huge inconvenience to patients. Most times, we tell attendants to get the drugs locally. The matter has been brought to the notice of the administrative department. However, the department officials have turned a deaf ear to our pleas,” said a senior doctor at Srinagar’s Lal Ded Hospital.
The shortage of supply puts an extra burden on the pockets of the common man, besides the risk to life. Doctors say that drugs and surgical items purchased from the open market have no guarantee and are sold without quality checks.
Officials of GMC Srinagar told Kashmir Reader that its associated hospitals sent a long list of essential drugs and consumables to the supplies corporation eight months ago. They have received nothing so far except a small stock of IV fluids and antibiotics.
“Every item is in short supply, even normal saline, dextrose solution, ringer lactate, and surgery and post-surgery consumables. Although we are purchasing some items locally, we are not allowed to purchase beyond a certain limit, so we are caught between the devil and the deep sea,” an administrator told Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity.
A senior doctor said about 40 percent of the required items have not been purchased by the JKMSC so far. “Some items we can manage through local purchase, asking attendants to get them from the market. However, in case of emergency, things become uncontrollable,” he said.
At a time when the state’s healthcare system is in disarray due to a multitude of problems, the JKMSC has delayed the tendering process for more than a year now.
Doctors at SMHS hospital and GB Pant hospital said the delay in the purchasing process had also affected the JSSK scheme for maternity care.
“We are unable to give free treatment to patients as the consumables and drugs are not available with us. This puts an extra burden on pockets of poor people who come from far-flung areas to get treated in the tertiary-care hospitals,” said an official.
Principal of GMC Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid, admitted that drug supplies have been facing many hurdles.
“There are many hassles in the supply system. However, we are going to solve it soon. We have held many deliberations to make the system smooth,” she said.