For the past several weeks, patients at civic-run hospitals have been paying from their own pockets for basic medicines that they should get for free; bizarrely, PMC officials attribute this acute drug shortage to the ongoing model code of conduct
Bablu Gaikwad (31), whose wife delivered a baby girl in the PMC-run Kamala Nehru Hospital two days ago, has had to shell out Rs 3,500 on medicines and medical tests till date, that too in a government-run hospital.
Patients pick state-run hospitals because they want to get quality treatment and medicines for free. Asked why patients are being told to buy their own medicines, authorities gave a bizarre explanation — the ongoing model code of conduct.
NO PILLS TO POP: At the PMC-run Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, there is an acute shortage of the drug Metrogyl (Metronidazole), which helps control diarrhoea. Pics/Mohan Patil
“Due to some complications, doctors had to make surgical interventions during the delivery. She will remain in hospital for another week.
I am satisfied with the treatment she is getting here. But I had to spend a lot of money on medicines and tests. In the past two days, I ended up spending Rs 3,500. Before coming here I was under the impression that along with the treatment, the medicines would be given free of cost,” said Gaikwad, who works as a site supervisor in a small firm.
SHELLING IT OUT: Bablu Gaikwad, whose wife delivered a baby girl in PMC’s Kamala Nehru Hospital, has had to shell out R3,500 for her medicines and medical tests.
‘Can’t help it’
PMC’s acting Health Chief Dr S T Pardeshi said that his department’s annual requirement for medicines is Rs 4.12 crore. But this year, he is yet to even begin the tendering procedure.
Gaikwad had to foot the medical bill of Rs 1837, even though medicines are given free at civic run hospitals
“Normally, at the beginning of new financial year, we initiate the tendering process to fix a contractor to procure the annual quota of medicines. But this year, we have not been able to do so due to the model code of conduct being in place,” Pardeshi said.
“My department comes under the state’s Urban Development Department. In the last month, we approached them with a request to allow us to go ahead with the tendering process for both medicines and pesticides. In their reply, the department asked us to take note of the rules in place during the model code,” he added.
RPI corporator and medical practitioner Sidhharth Dhende rubbished the clarification given by Pardeshi.
“It should be noted that procurement of medicines comes under the ‘emergency’ head.
Hence, the model code is not applicable to it. If an epidemic spreads in the city tomorrow, will the health department say that they can’t prevent people from dying due to the model code?
The PMC health chief should read the norms of the model code before giving such lame excuses,” said Dhende, who also runs a clinic in the Nagpur Chawl area.
Kamala Nehru Hospital Superintendent Dr Bharatan claimed that all is well in the hospital, saying, “My hospital receives medicines from the PMC central store at Gadihana. We are not facing any shortage of medicines. The patients need to purchase medicines from outside only in the case of a few antibiotics.”
The ground reality is quite the opposite. PMC-run clinics and hospitals are facing an acute shortage of antibiotics, antipyretics and painkillers.
“Cases of diarrhoea are increasing in the city. But we are facing acute shortage of Metrogyl (Metronidazole) tablets, which helps control diarrhoea. Some other antibiotics are also missing for many days,” said Dr Ravi (name changed on request) of PMC’s Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, adding, “Most hospitals don’t even have the simple Paracetamol or cough syrups, for that matter.”