On Monday, the doctors at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Patiala, Punjab, were warned of suspension by the authorities if they were found prescribing outside medicines or recommending tests to patients from outside.
The directive was issued in a meeting held with the doctors of various departments, where a discussion regarding the unavailability of medicines and other medical supplies took place.
Amid the meeting, the authorities warned the medics against prescribing medicines that aren't available in the in-house pharmacy. It also said that disciplinary action would be taken against those found indulging in the practice.
After the warning, the doctors were enraged by the fact that the hospital pharmacy lacked a variety of crucial medications, masks, syringes, and gloves. Moreover, they asserted that there was a shortage of emergency kits for patients.
Besides this issue of the unavailability of drugs and tests in the hospital, senior and junior resident doctors have also demanded the availability of medicine, gloves, masks, and other emergency medical items in stock.
According to TOI, a doctor, on condition of anonymity, informed that several essential drugs are unavailable for the patients. The oxygen is available, but there are no oxygen masks. There are no medicines for seizures, no syringes, and no syrups. Also, nebulization masks that cost around Rs. 600 from outside are unavailable at Rajindra Hospital.
The doctor also spoke about the lack of facilities to conduct several tests, including TTG, hemolysis, and wheat allergy. The doctor also informed me about the unavailability of test kits for growth hormone, which cost around Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per test outside.
In spite of all this, doctors were warned of suspension if they recommended tests to patients from outside or prescribed outside medicines.
This is not the first time that this problem has been raised by the authorities at GMCH. Previously, a written directive was issued to all heads of departments, resident doctors, and other health staff, asking them to avoid prescribing medicines from outside the hospital.
Noticing the shortage of medicines, the authorities have formed committees for each department to work out the list of medicines under the essential and non-essential drug categories.
The medical superintendent of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, Punjab, Dr. H. S. Rekhi, said that there are 18 different departments at the GMCH Patiala, and they have formed a committee for each department to work out the shortage of medicines and provide a list of essential and non-essential drugs that are unavailable in the hospital so that they can purchase and provide the same for the patients. A meeting lasting more than two hours was held in this regard with the doctors.
(Input from various sources)