MRI and Elisa machine, two important expensive medical devices, are lying unused at SSKM Hospital, eastern India’s premier government institute for post-graduate medical education and research, and Uluberia Medical College Hospital (UMCH) awaiting Union health ministry’s clearance to start MBBS course, respectively.
The MRI unit installed at the emergency building of the SSKM Hospital has been lying non-functional for the past couple of weeks virtually for the patients to rush to other investigation centre that has come up on public-private-partnership (PPP) model inside the premises of the hospital and other government medical colleges in the city.
A senior administrative officer of SSKM said, “The 10-year-old MRI unit is lying defunct because of no maintenance. It will resume work soon after maintenance and repair works are done.”
“Many indoor and outdoor patients belonging to poor and lower middle classes require MRI investigations, free-of-cost, under Swasthya Sathi scheme with advice of concerned doctors. But, they are now rushing to other investigation centres that have come up on the PPP model to get their MRI tests done forcing the state to pay huge money, around Rs 5,000-6,000 for each case.”
The health department has already directed teaching hospitals to use MRI tests for the indoor and outdoor patients as much as possible instead of sending them to PPP model investigation centres.
On the other hand, the sole Elisa machine installed at the UMCH blood bank is not in working condition for the past several months, badly affecting the mandatory five tests on blood samples collected from voluntary blood donation camps to confirm HIV, AIDS, malaria etc.
The blood bank authorities are being forced to conduct spot rapid card tests on these blood samples because of no Elisa machine.
Sources at the hospital alleged that the blood bank is yet to have a valid license issued by the West Bengal Directorate of Drug Control (WBDDC).
“It’s true that the sole Elisa machine in our blood bank is not functioning and we are conducting spot rapid card tests on blood samples collected from camps to confirm HIV, AIDS, malaria infections. We have bought a new Elisa machine and it will be operational from Wednesday,” Dr Ranjan Maiti, medical officer of the blood bank told The Statesman.
“We have applied to the state drug control seeking renewal of license,” Dr Maiti added.