September 21, 2008
JJ Upgradation Plan Runs into Trouble
By Madhavi Rajadhyaksha
MUMBAI: The mass purchase of medical equipment for JJ Hospital's Rs 120-crore upgradation plan has run into trouble, with some companies questioning the tender process followed by the state government. TOI has found out that some equipment manufacturers recently approached medical education officials highlighting several discrepancies.
For instance, many of those applying for the tender for a Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD), a centralised unit for sterilisation, have complained about lack of proper specifications. "We have purchased the tender document but the specifications are not clearly laid out. The tender isn't even compliant to the norms followed by the Medical Council of India or the NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers)," states a letter submitted to the Mantralaya by one company. It further adds that the tender document doesn't give any information related to infection control or water sterilisation, which are a 'must' for any CSSD.
Another manufacturer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, "Sterilisation is closely linked to operation theatres and the government should ensure safety for the benefit of patients."
Similar grievances have surfaced over the purchase of other equipment such as ventilators and X-ray machines with CR systems. This bears significance as over Rs 75 crore of the grant under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) has been reserved for the purchase of equipment for the state-run JJ Hospital as well as sister institutions - GT, St George's and Cama Hospitals.
Doctors, too, share similar concerns. "Each department has asked for high-tech machines but there no one screened duplication of machines in the hospital," pointed out a senior doctor.
"Some of the manufacturers had approached me and I assured them that I would look into the matter," said JJ Hospital dean Dr B M Subnis. "These purchases were being made based on the specifications laid down by the Centre." The PMSSY guidelines however , clearly state that the specifications are drawn up by individual hospitals and the Centre only vets them.
Deputy director of medical education Dr Pravin Shingare, however, said no complaints had reached them and the procurement of equipment was on track.
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