Procedural delays impair healthcare
Rate Contract, Tendering Formalities Render Critical-Care Equipment Defunct
Srinagar, June 24: At a time when the state’s healthcare system is in a state of complete disarray due to multitude of problems, precious human lives continue to remain hostage to the “Purchase Committees” and “codal formalities” of the Health and Medical Education Departments.
“It is unfortunate that even the emergency items like critical-care equipment and life-saving drugs have to go through bureaucratic rigmarole to be approved for purchase,” a senior official working in the health department told Greater Kashmir.
The critical-care equipment and life-saving drugs for various health institutions of the state are purchased after the approval of these Purchase Committees.
According to sources three such committees - Central Purchase Committee-I, Central Purchase Committee-II and Central Purchase Committee-III are presently operational in the state. “While CPC-I operates from Srinagar and is responsible for the procurement of equipment and other hospital machinery, CPC-II operates from Jammu and deals with drugs and essential instruments while CPC-III works on rotational basis from Srinagar and Jammu and deals with all the purchases and procurement made in Government Dental Colleges of the state. First two committees change role every two years,” the sources said.
While CPC-I is headed by Principal GMC Srinagar with Medical Superintendent, SMHS hospital as its member secretary, the CPC-II is headed by Principal GMC Jammu Principal with Medical Superintendent SMGS hospital Jammu and member secretary. Both the committees have members from Directorates of Health Services, Kashmir and Jammu, Drug, Industries and Finance Departments.
Quoting an instance of the tardy mechanism of these committees, sources said, the valley-based hospitals are presently facing acute shortage intravenous fluids due to non-cooperation of a Jammu-based supplier. “The department is unable to make available the intravenous fluids to the hospitals in the valley as the supplier from Jammu is reluctant to provide it on the rates approved by the committee,” sources said.
According to sources, previously there were separate purchase committees for Kashmir and Jammu divisions called Divisional Rate and Contract Committees. However, some years back Central Purchase Committees were constituted for both the regions, they said.
“The present system has had direct bearing on the fate of the patient-care,” the sources added.
However, according to sources, most of the times, these committees don’t issue any rate list or float tenders for purchase of essential drugs due to neck-breaking codal formalities.
“When authorities at any hospital or health center send request for the purchase of life saving and emergency items to these committees, their usual response is that no rate contract or approved source is available,” the sources said.
Same is the fate of the purchase committee dealing with machine and equipment supplies, sources said.
They said that despite huge funds being allocated for the purchase of equipment and medicines for hospitals, a bundle of requisitions was gathering dust with the purchase committees due to was gathering dust due to the faulty mechanism in vogue.
Sources said the administration of the various hospitals and even Principals of the Government Medical Colleges were not authorized to take decision on repair and renovation of the machines already existing in the hospitals. Even these decisions have to be routed through the purchase committees.
Voices are now being raised for the establishment of separate Directorate of Procurements for Kashmir and Jammu divisions. “Such panels will look into the process of purchase to avoid delays,” they said.
Same is the fate of requisitions for Annual Maintenance Contracts and Outsourcing of Hospital Support System due to which most of the Supporting Services like diesel generator, Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs), boilers and laundry service, lifts and central heating plants, electric substations, dewatering pumps and oxygen concentrator are either poorly maintained or lie defunct, officials at the associated hospital told this newspaper.
“Whenever there is major breakdown in these services the issue has to go to the purchase committee that might take months and till then the support service remains defunct,” a senior official said on anonymity.
He said that same is the case with X-ray plants, Oxygen ABG analyzers, ventilators, and even the refrigerators. “In labs of pathology, microbiology and biochemistry departments the staff is unable to work due to defunct equipments and absence of many reagents. The officials are hesitant to place the order because of non-availability of rate contract/ source,” the official said.
The tender for Machinery Equipments are generalized without taking cognizance of request from HODs, faculty, who are ultimate users of these machines.
“It is common sight in department of surgery where surgeons bring many types of equipments from their private clinics and nursing homes and operate routine patients at SMHS,” the officials in the hospital informed.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 24 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 24 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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