State hospitals’ ICUs in danger of closing

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The Intensive Care Units (ICU) and High Dependency Units (HDU) in State hospitals may have to be closed due to the non-payment of over Rs 300 million to companies that supply reagents.

President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL), Ravi Kumudesh yesterday (17) accused the Health Ministry of failing to pay the said amount to companies which supply the reagents for ICUs and HDUs causing depletion in the available stocks in the State health service.

Kumudesh said the lack of reagents to operate essential medical equipment such as Blood Gas Analysers in ICUs and HDUs made it difficult to even think of admitting or transfer patients in need of ventilator support. He accused the Ministry of having delayed payments by over four months.

The CMLSSL President lamented that suppliers were at a loss due to the failure of responsible officials at the Health Ministry to provide at least temporary solutions to the problem. It has resulted in some of them running into bankruptcy by supplying reagents to the Ministry on loan.

It has even resulted in some importers being blacklisted by their international suppliers which had also contributed to their state of ruin, he alleged.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) warned that there was a coup to privatise the free health service. They accused political authorities of pushing the health service itself into a crisis situation before privatising it.

The lethargy shown towards fund allocation, the appointment of a Health Minister, delay in resolving the medicinal drug crisis only shows the government’s aim to privatise health rather than giving priority to establishing the people’s right to health and their right to life.