Defunct Biomedical equipment swells at Baramulla district hospital

Authorities impeding government backed repair programme, desire CT scan made functional first

Srinagar: Patient care has been hit at north Kashmir’s Baramulla district as more than 125 biomedical equipments are lying defunct at the Government District Hospital, Baramulla for many years.
According to official sources, the authorities have failed to repair many diagnostic, surgical and critical care equipments in the Government District Hospital Baramulla after 2006 forcing patients to spend extra money on diagnostic tests and screenings at private clinics.
The selected company which has won the bid for the newly launched Biomedical Equipment Management and Maintenance Program (BEMMP) in J&K has already finished the mapping of the district hospital for the equipments and listed it in the digital platform of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
“More than 125 biomedical equipments have been lying defunct in the District Hospital Baramulla for many years,” said a doctor, quoting the official data.
The equipments includes ventilators, baby warmers, anesthesia apparatus, operation theatre devices and even the X-ray machine.
Officials have, however, delayed the repair work even as some machines were in the warranty period, he said.
“Some machines which are now lying defunct in the hospital were installed only a few years ago. The non-functioning of the equipments has, however, led patients to spend more on such tests outside the hospital, while some equipment dysfunction is leading to poor services at the hospital.
Source said that the administrators had also created hurdles in the implementation Biomedical Equipment Management and Maintenance Program (BEMMP) which is meant to rectify all defunct biomedical equipment in district hospitals within 4 months after the conclusion of mapping process by the selected company.
“They are not allowing engineers to repair defunct equipment. I think they want to bypass the free biomedical maintenance program and allot it to some favorite firm,” said an employee, privy to the development.
“Recently, a team of engineers from the selected company visited the hospital to repair some equipment. However, the Medical Superintendent and Principal Government Medical College, Baramulla stopped them from carrying the repair work,” he said.
The hospital administrators were forcing the engineers to restore only the defunct CT- Scan machine which, as per engineers, is without critical spare parts, the employee said.
“Engineers have out rightly refused to repair the CT-Scan as many of its parts were missing,” he said.
The Biomedical Equipment Management and Maintenance Program (BMMP) was launched in J&K last year as over 50 percent of bio-medical equipment was left dysfunctional in the government-run district hospitals and health centers over the years.
However, the scheme faced delay at various quarters and the latest one being the hurdles created by the administrators at various health institutions.
“We are facing a serious issue of non-functional equipment in all the hospitals. From a simple microscope to ventilator and X-ray machine, hundreds of equipment and apparatus are lying defunct for want of maintenance. It is a huge burden on our healthcare system because we are unable to provide hassle-free facility due to lack of essential diagnostic and imaging facilities,” a senior health official rued.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India had already approved the BMMP three years ago. However, the J&K health department has not implemented it despite allocation of funds.
Principal Government Medical College Baramulla, Dr Abdul Hamid refuted the allegations of creating hurdles in the repair work.
“Our priority is CT-Scan this time because patient care is suffering. Other equipment can be repaired slowly,” he said.
He admitted that he stopped a team of engineers of the selected company from repairing the equipment.
“I told them to rectify the CT-scan machine first but they refused to do so. I think they untrained. That is why I stopped them. Otherwise I have no personal interest in it,” he said.

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