Patients visiting the Shaheed Babu Labh Singh district civil hospital are being deprived of free health facilities available under a scheme of the National Rural Health Mission.
The scheme promises to provide 159 medicines and 27 medical items, including syringes, bandages, cotton, medical tape, urine drainage bags, IV cannulas and blood transfusion sets.
While posters to publicise the scheme have been put up at various places in the 400-bed hospital, people are being forced to buy medicines outside the hospital, as nearly 100 medicines are not available in the hospital. Besides, people are not aware of the facilities provided under the scheme.
On being asked about the scheme, several people said that they were not getting the benefits. A patient's relative said that while starting the scheme was a good step, the government should ensure that every patient is able to avail the benefits, as people were still paying for the medicines.
The hospital authorities claimed that it was first time that the supply of medicines had fallen short, as otherwise, they were supplied regularly.
A doctor, on the condition of anonymity, said that medicines had not reached the hospital for the past two months, forcing patients to purchase them at higher rates.
“At this time, when viral fever is rampant due to the changing weather, all the medicines, including antibiotics, should be made available round-the-clock,” he added.
Medical superintendent Dr JS Cheema asked this correspondent to talk to chief pharmacist Surinder Pal Sharma regarding the shortage of medicines.
Sharma said the civil surgeon had to supply these medicines to the hospital.
“I have been informed that the medicines have reached the civil surgeon's office and more medicines are on the way,” he claimed, adding that the supply will become regular soon.
However, civil surgeon Dr RL Bassan said that as there was a shortage of medicines under the scheme, he had written to the director of the state health department.
“Tenders have been floated by the higher authorities to purchase medicines andall 159 medicines would be available in the hospital within a week,” he claimed.