Chaos reigned supreme on day one of disbursement of free essential medicines at Delhi government hospitals as patients were made to run around prescriptions signed by doctors.
“Most of the patients came with prescriptions that had not been stamped, so we had to keep sending them back,” said a pharmacist from Lok Nayak hospital, on condition of anonymity.
Almost 90% of the free medicines promised by the Delhi government were stocked in the hospital pharmacies on Monday.
He said the government had directed them not to give out medicines to those without prescriptions signed and stamped by their doctors.
At Lok Nayak hospital, patients were shuttling between the OPD on the third floor and the pharmacy on the ground floor. Many had to wait in long queues.
“I came to the hospital with fever, cough and cold at 7 am. The doctor saw me at 11 am. I have been standing in the pharmacy line since then. The first time I reached the counter, they sent me back to get the prescription stamped. I had to come down and stand in the line again,” said Salma Begum (23).
After waiting for over three hours, she could only get the paracetamol tablets and not the cough syrup prescribed by the doctor.
Similar scenes were witnessed at other big Delhi government hospitals as well.
“Today is the first day, so we had a little problem. Many junior doctors do not have a stamp. The medicine and the gynaecology department are too crowded. So there might have been a few misses,” said Dr AK Mehta, additional medical superintendent at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital. He expected the situation to improve in a day or two.
According to the order issued by Delhi director general of health services Dr Tarun Seem, all doctors in government hospitals and dispensaries have to prescribe drugs only from the notified list.