The Sunday Leader

A Testing Time For State Hospitals

by Hafsa Sabry

Some doctors send patients to private hospitals for blood tests to gain a profit

The Ministry of Health has announced that blood investigation reports ordered by state doctors to be conducted at private hospitals will be done in-house from December this year.

Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne said at a meeting held at the Ministry of Health that patients who enter government hospitals will not be allowed to get blood tests from private entities. He said all equipment will be provided to hospitals that have laboratories so that poor patients who are faced with economic hardships will not have to go to private hospitals or labs to have tests done.

The Ministry of Health will prohibit patients admitted to state hospitals from bringing blood test reports from private hospitals and it will be the responsibility of the ministry to provide this facility to them.

Health sector trade unions insist that priority should be given to poor patients at public hospitals as people who cannot afford to consult doctors privately go to government hospitals and there is no point if they then have to bring blood reports from private entities.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Semi-Government and Private Sector Trade Union Alliance Leader Samantha Ratnapriya said that there is a 99.9% possibility and facilities in public hospitals for patients to undergo blood investigation tests and other laboratory tests but the hospital managements are reluctant to use them.  “There are enough laboratories, drugs, chemicals, equipment and staff to carry out blood tests in government hospitals except for a few major tests,” he added.

“The state hospital doctors request poor patients to get blood tests done outside claiming that the hospitals lack facilities. These doctors are not keen to use the laboratories or the facilities given to the hospitals but send them out to private hospitals and gain a profit from it,” he alleged.

On the other hand, there is a genuine lack of facilities in some of the government hospitals as they have no proper chemicals and equipment to conduct proper investigations and hence patientsare advised to obtain blood reports from private laboratories.

“Some of the public hospitals lack the facilities to conduct dengue blood test investigations, cholesterol and MRI scan reports and that can be understood if these tests are ordered to be done at private labs butif there arefacilities already available for tests and these are not used, there is no point in having the facilities in-housewith the government having spent on them already,” Ratnapriya said.

Ratnapriya also claimed that hospital managements must be regulated properly for this to be implemented as there are a number of public hospitals regulated under provincial health management. There is a possibility to ensure that public hospital patients do not go to private entities for blood and several other investigation reports as 95 per cent of the base hospitals and most of the provincial hospitals are provided with facilities to do investigation reports in-house.

However, blood lipid profile tests are sometimes required to be taken from private hospitals as there can be a lack of facilities in the state hospitals which according to the Health Ministry will be soon be addressed. According to Minister Senaratne, the required equipment will be provided to the hospitals that have laboratories. The Minister also promised to provide blood testing equipment costing nearly Rs. 15 million for the already available laboratories.

Patients have however said that they go to private hospitals to get investigation reports done as the process in the government hospitals is delayed. The situation prevails due to the lack of laboratory staff and equipment. Also, national hospital patients are poorly treatedby attendants and hospital staff.

Ratnapriya further stated that although during the last regime when President Maithripala Sirisena was the Minister of Health he had made several attempts to implement this scheme, it was not successful as public hospitals island wide was not under a proper management regulation. Even if the Minister decided to implement a law or a regulation, it failed to succeed as he was not the only person with the authority but the hospital managements as well, Ratnapriya added.


2 Comments for “A Testing Time For State Hospitals”

  1. The corruption in the private medical sector should stop now, some of the doctors are the biggest culprits.

  2. chandran-kandy

    very good work done by govt well done

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