Private blood banks must provide free blood to govt hospital patients, says mini

Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader on Thursday said that private blood banks must supply blood free of cost to patients admitted in government hospitals, if requested.

He was speaking at a meeting organised with private hospitals, blood banks and labs at the Vikasa Soudha. The meeting was called in the backdrop of a spurt in dengue cases and reports that private hospitals were fleecing patients. 

“If the patient’s attendant comes with a reference letter from the authorities concerned at the hospital, he must not be charged for the blood unit or platelets. The dues for these would later be settled from the hospital,” he added.

Senior officials in the Department of Health and Family Welfare suggested that the blood banks and hospitals sign an MoU to ease the process.

Dr G Vamadev, director of the department, said they were contemplating on having one blood bank empanelled in each of the districts to ensure that the patients in government hospitals do not have to run from pillar to post to get blood or its components. 

“Payments will be made by the government to these empanelled labs based on the rates agreed upon,” he said. 

Representatives of private hospitals who attended the meeting pointed out that the figures on the government website on availability of blood did not match the ground situation. 

The minister questioned representatives of hospitals that were over-charging patients. Khader was informed by the officials that most hospitals had not displayed rate charts on their premises.

 Khader sought an explanation from the officials on dengue cases being reported. So far, 1,600 positive cases have been reported in the State. Of these, 496 are from BBMP limits alone. 

In the course of the meeting, a doctor said that Category 3 rabbies vaccination and immunoglobulin were out of stock in all district hospitals and was available only in the Epidemic Diseases Hospital. 

Dr G D Ravindra, who represented St John’s medical College Hospital, urged the minister to publicise the fact that not all cases of dengue needed platelet transfusion. Representatives of private hospitals said that sometimes, they are forced to do platelets transfusion for dengue patients. 

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