For three months, purchase tenders not finalised; employees say this is for local shopkeepers’ profit, like in 2016
Srinagar: Patients coming to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura are not getting urgently needed life-saving drugs but the administration is more concerned with renovating office chambers of HoDs, spending nearly Rs 1 crore for refurbishing 30 rooms.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that SKIMS Soura is facing acute shortage of life-saving and essential medicines, including emergency drugs for various infections, heart-related disorders, cancer, and kidney ailments.
Hundreds of patients, especially those reaching the hospital during the evening and night hours, are left stranded due to unavailability of medicines.
“The attendants are forced to go out to buy medicines in the open market, which delays the treatment and sometimes puts patients at risk,” an employee posted in the Emergency Department told Kashmir Reader.
Sources said that hospital authorities have failed to purchase many emergency and essential drugs for the past three months.
The drugs include Injection Dilzem and Esmolol. Both these drugs are life-saving and used in serious heart ailments. While Dilzem is given to control high blood pressure in heart patients, Esmolol is used to control rapid heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms. This medicine is also used to treat fast heartbeat and high blood pressure during surgery, after surgery, or during other medical procedures.
“Other drugs which are out of stock in the hospital include injections like Ondansetron, Ceftrizone, Tazobactum and Erythropoietin, which come under essential drug category and must be available round the clock,” said doctors at SKIMS.
They said most of these drugs ran out of stock three months ago but the purchase committee of the hospital failed to finalise the tendering process, despite funds available for drugs.
“I think the purchase committee of SKIMS Soura wants to benefit local shopkeepers, as they did during the 2016 unrest when they ordered local purchase up to Rs 50 lakh from private leaders and chemist shops,” an employee privy to the development told Kashmir Reader.
Official documents also corroborated his version, showing that SKIMS had procured drugs and surgical items worth Rs 40 lakh for firearm victims in 2016. Most of the purchase was done locally during the six months of unrest from July 2016 to December 2016.
“The drugs were purchased locally to benefit private chemists and drug dealers as no tendering process was followed in the process. Now, SKIMS is trying to repeat the process by delaying the purchase of drugs,” highly placed sources told Kashmir Reader.
An official in the hospital’s engineering department revealed that nearly Rs 1 crore is being spent by SKIMS administration on the renovation of office chambers of nearly 30 HoDs (heads of department).
The renovation work and interior designing of each room costs nearly Rs 3 lakh because all rooms are being designed using wooden panelling and Khatamband ceiling, the official said.
“This is sheer negligence on the part of SKIMS administration, as huge money is being spent on rooms while patient care is suffering for want of life-saving drugs,” he said.
Muhammad Amin, an attendant of a patient, complained that there was no antibiotic available in the hospital to treat his brother, who has been diagnosed with a chest infection.
“We have requested the pharmacy department officials to make it available but they told us to get them from the open market,” he said.
He said the family has to spend extra Rs 30,000 on the purchase of injections and tablets for one month, as each injection costs Rs 500 in the open market.
Only a small section of patients can afford to buy medicines from outside; the majority of them are languishing in different wards of the hospital virtually without medicines.
The hospital witnesses a footfall of 2,000 to 3,000 patients daily.
SKIMS Medical Superintendent Dr Farooq Ahmad Jan admitted that many drugs were not in stock because no supplier could be selected for providing the drugs.
“All the vital and essential drugs will be made available soon as the sub-purchase committee of the hospital is in the last stage of finalising the tenders. If it can’t identify the sources immediately, we will get drugs from other sources selected by PGI Chandigarh and AIIMS, New Delhi. We have a provision to get the drugs from our previous source also,” he said.
“The drugs which will not be available even from all these sources will be made available through local purchase,” he said.