A proposal to set up a separate bio-medical or equipment committee for looking after the maintenance of equipment and machinery in hospitals run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is awaiting implementation. Once implemented, the move is expected to cut the time it takes to repair a broken hospital machine and the delay in treating patients because of such breakdowns.
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Civic hospitals often face problems when a machinery breaks down or equipment cannot be used until a technical expert is sent by the manufacturer.
At KEM Hospital, a heart-lung machine remained out of order for months because the hospital had no expertise to repair it. On several occasions, minor repairs in dialysis machines or X-ray scans result in long waiting periods for patients until the problem is fixed.
“We do not have a dedicated engineer for the hospital’s medical equipment. Once a machine breaks down, we can’t do anything but wait until the manufacturer sends a technician,” said a doctor at KEM Hospital.
BMC has engineers who are transferred from one department to another but they may lack expertise on medical equipment.
The tender for hiring one company to look after all hospital machinery at civic hospitals has been floated. According to Dr Avinash Supe, director of tertiary hospitals, in three months all such machines will be mapped following which the repair work for minor breakdowns would be outsourced. Repair of major machinery like ICU equipment, ventilator, MRI and CT scan machines will be included later, he said.
Health committee member Dr Saeeda Khan said, “I had asked for a bio-medical team which would not only look after maintenance but also barcode machines to keep a check on them.”
According to Dr Padmaja Keskar, the proposal is under consideration. “If all medical machinery is barcoded, we will know which ones require repair. Minor repairs can be done in 24 hours,” she said, adding the procedure will be routed through BMC’s central purchase department.
The contractor would be given the task of maintaining all instruments and machinery in over 20 BMC-run hospitals.