In order to break the nexus between the hospital staff and private medical stores, the Patiala Red Cross Society will run its already existing two drug stores inside the Government Rajindra Hospital 24X7 from April 1.
It was decided in the executive committee meeting held last month under the supervision of the then deputy commissioner Varun Roojam.
Even as private medical stores are not operating inside the hospital, there have been several instances in the past where the doctors have been found referring patients for branded medicines to these stores, which have been thriving around the periphery of the hospital. The para-medical staffs are also alleged to be indulging in unethical practices by reselling the unused surgical and other items back to these stores after the operation.
Many believe that the major reason behind this growing nexus is the inadequate stock and limited working hours of these government-run stores, which is expected to decrease once these stores start running professionally from next month.
Ensuring a professional approach, local secretary PS Sidhu said their shops, which were currently operating just for eight hours a day and even remained closed during government holidays, would now work round the clock. “Full stock of branded as well as surgical items will be available in these stores,” he said.
He said these stores had so far failed to meet the mandate of affordable medicines and customer-friendly approach. “We are changing the entire approach. While a permanent supervisor will ensure its smooth functioning from next month, we are recruiting additional staff to operate it around the clock. They will also be paid extra incentives apart from the basic salary, if they meet the fixed targets,” Sidhu added.
He informed that these stores would pass on at least 15 to 20 % discount on all kind of medicines and surgical equipment to the customers. “The discount may exceed depending upon the subsidised purchase from the open market, which will be fully monitored,” he said, adding, “We will also put up posters and banners to make the customer aware of the discounts.”
One store is situated near the branch of State Bank of Patiala, while the other store is situated inside the gynaecology ward.
Rajindra Hospital medical superintendent BL Bhardwaj said it was a welcome step as the presence of these stores were negligible earlier, forcing the customers to buy medicines from stores outside the hospital. “I will officially issue directions to all the staff to ensure that patients buy medicines and surgical equipments from these stores,” he added.