As non-COVID services resume, the provision of other essentials such as dressing materials, catheters and gloves has also been affected.
The state’s public hospitals are now facing a severe shortage of basic medicines, including paracetamol, antibiotics and antihistamines, and are being forced to write prescriptions for patients to buy from outside.
Sources said that there has been an irregular / insufficient supply of basic medicines in all hospitals run by the state health department and that hospital authorities are unable to stock up even after four months of withdrawal.
Hospital officials said that except for intravenous fluids, all essential medical supplies, including suturing and bandaging equipment, catheters, gloves and basic medicine, had been in short supply since May. “With the resumption of non-COVID services from June to July in all public hospitals, the daily flow of patients has increased significantly and is almost equal to what was observed in the pre-COVID days. But we don’t have the medicines we need and we face the anger of patients when we write prescriptions for them to buy them outside, ”said a chief medical officer at a district hospital in northern Quebec. Karnataka.
A senior anesthesiologist at another district hospital said the shortage can be attributed to the fact that Karnataka State Medical Supplies Corporation Ltd. (KSMSCL) has not issued any calls for tenders in the past two years. “In addition, funds from the National Free Drugs Service (NFDS) for district hospitals to procure drugs locally have not been released in the past six months,” the doctor said.
He said the usual allowance of 25 lakh under this program for district hospitals and ₹ 10 lakh for taluk hospitals has been reduced to ₹ 10 lakh and ₹ 5 lakh, respectively. “With a patient flow of over 1,500 per day and over 350 inpatients at any given time, an NFDS fund of 10 lakh is not enough to meet drug needs even for a week,” said doctor.
Another medical administrator at a general hospital in Bengaluru said he was doing his best to make sure BPL patients were not put to the test. “We have asked all of our doctors not to write prescriptions for BPL patients because they cannot afford to buy drugs outside. Instead of giving them the prescribed drugs for the required period of time all at once, we are rationing, ”said the doctor.
However, senior health officials have denied that there is a shortage of drugs. State Health Commissioner KV Trilok Chandra said the KSMSCL was in the process of procuring regular drugs and annual tenders had been issued. “There is no shortage of drugs as hospitals have been allowed to source locally through NFDS and Arogya Raksha Samithi (ARS) funds. Hospitals with a problem can report it to us, ”he said.
Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), admitted that NFDS funds under NHM for districts had been cut because the Center had cut NHM’s budget for a few components. We have been told that these items need the approval of the 15th Finance Committee and we are awaiting that. “We have started to release funds under the NFDS for the districts in the last two or three days. Districts can start purchasing soon, ”she said.