Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 13 April 2024 2.19 AM IST

Heart surgeries in govt hospitals face disruption risk


The news about surgical institutes deciding to stop supplying surgical instruments to government hospitals, including state medical colleges is worrisome and alerting. The institutes are now pushed to the verge of protesting for not being paid the huge dues for the equipment already supplied.

Regardless of the merit of protesting against the unpaid dues, the decision is surely going to affect commoners who depended largely on government hospitals for health-related concerns. The institutions have demanded that the dues of Rs 143 crore be paid immediately. The arrears are due from December 2022 to last February. Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital alone has arrears of Rs.50 crore. The Chamber of Distributors, a distribution association of surgical institutions, has written to the hospital superintendent about stopping the supply of essential surgical equipment if the dues remain unsettled by the 31st of this month.

Kozhikode Medical College Hospital owes Rs 23.14 crore and General Hospital Rs 3.21 crore. In August last year, cardiac surgeries were halted for a week after the institution stopped providing surgical equipment to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital. The case was settled then after the authorities paid two months' due of Rs 6 crore.

In the worst-case scenario, major heart surgeries would be disrupted in government hospitals, if the supply of essentials including stents gets stopped. There will also be a shortage of equipment such as pacemakers and balloons for the cath lab. Since the arrival of Covid, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients reaching hospitals for heart-related ailments.

People, mostly in the 'financially secured' category would have no qualms in shifting to private hospitals for treatment if met with any trouble in government hospitals. The situation is different for the poor sections in the state who have only government hospitals to rely on for solace.

Today, the surgical institutes are holding discussions with the hospital superintendents. The government needs to work out a proper plan this time rather than wriggling out citing the usual ‘economic straits’.

Therefore, Health Minister Veena George should directly intervene in this matter. The matter should be resolved at the earliest or else, face the wrath of the public in the upcoming elections.

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