The licence of the blood bank at Lok Nayak hospital has not been renewed since January 1, 2008.
The Drug Controller General of India has reportedly refused to renew the licence saying the hospital is not equipped to handle the patient load it receives.
The blood bank at Lok Nayak is a regional blood transfusion centre, meaning it caters to blood requirement not only for Delhi but also for the entire northern region.
For more than a year now, the blood bank is functioning at half the strength. The ideal staff strength to process 20,000 units of blood every year, should be at least 21 technicians, but the blood bank at Lok Nayak is working with only 10 people.
This includes two laboratory technicians, three assistants, and five contractual laboratory assistants.
With the number of dengue cases rising in the Capital this season, there is not even a technician for platelet separation.
“There is a major problem of staff shortage at the blood bank and we are trying to address it,” said Dr Amit Banerjee, medical superintendent at Lok Nayak hospital.
“Only today, I have deputed a senior person in the blood bank to handle the work load. We will ensure patients don’t have to suffer. We are also taking help of other hospitals to meet platelet shortage as dengue cases rise in the capital.”
Banerjee took office in June earlier this year and has discussed the issue of staff shortage with additional health secretary G. Ramachandran.
“Such problems do not occur overnight, hence solutions will also take their due course,” Banerjee said.
Sources in the hospital say, poor functioning and lack of good leadership has led to the staff crunch. The head of the department Dr Lalitha Prasad says he is helpless.
“It is difficult to function under such circumstances. We are human beings who are working 24/7 without any break,” said Dr Prasad. “On October 15, I had also written to the authorities to take appropriate action in time, before the DGCI orders its shut down.”
Prasad is also unhappy with the three contractual laboratory assistants, who go on leave without prior notice.
“We can’t penalise them as they are paid according to the work they do. But who suffers in their absence. We do.”