Hyderabad: The State health wing is set to adopt a new policy that will ensure regular maintenance and repair of high-end medical diagnostic equipment at all teaching hospitals in Telangana.
Frequent breakdown and gaps in the maintenance of costly medical equipment in teaching hospitals in the last couple of years has been a major difficulty in ensuring free diagnostic services to patients in government hospitals.
At present, it takes months and sometimes even a year to take up repairs or maintenance of high-end critical diagnostic medical equipment like a CT or an MRI scan. Till such repairs are done, patients in government hospitals are forced to incur out-of-pocket expenditure for diagnostic tests.
To address such operational delays, the State government has decided to do away with private third-party agencies and directly involve the Telangana State Medical Services and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TSMSIDC) for repair and maintenance of medical equipment.
Third-party agencies act like middlemen between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who manufacture the medical equipment, and government hospitals. Due to a host of reasons, including inexperience and inefficiency, these agencies take a long time to repair the equipment causing inconvenience to patients.
In a recent census, the health wing ascertained that there are nearly 1,000 high-end medical equipment, conducting critical diagnostic tests for poor patients free of cost at all the teaching hospitals and a few district hospitals. From now on, the TSMSIDC will be directly responsible for the repair and maintenance of the equipment.
“We have observed that the service quality of third-party agencies is not up to the mark when compared with OEMs. The government has decided to stop taking the help of third-party agencies in maintaining high-end medical equipment. We will coordinate directly with OEMs,” said TSMSIDC Chairman K Chandrasekhar Reddy.
Utilising the services of a single vendor or a third-party was a policy decision that was taken under the National Health Mission, which was continued in the State. However, from now on, the TSMSIDC will start dealing directly with OEMs for the repair and maintenance of medical equipment.
Supply chain management established
For the first time, the health wing has a dedicated budgetary allocation aimed at specifically procuring reagents needed to conduct all kinds of diagnostic tests. The State government has already incurred an expenditure of between Rs 150 crore and Rs 200 crore to procure the reagents for diagnostic tests at government hospitals.
“The rate contract for close to 500 reagents has already been established so that their supply will remain uninterrupted for the next two years. The idea is the keep the diagnostic medical equipment running,” he said.