MCH Blood Bank: Shortage of staff; 'flood' of patients - The New Indian Express

MCH Blood Bank: Shortage of staff; 'flood' of patients

Published: 28th October 2013 08:58 AM

Last Updated: 28th October 2013 09:04 AM

For Radha, hailing from Kollam, it was her third visit to the blood bank at Medical College Hospital (MCH) here in connection with her husband’s treatment last Friday. It turned out to be no  different from her earlier visits. ‘’How can we manage all of you together?’’ asked a staff member there.

Radha is one among the many at the receiving end of the  staff issues plaguing the model blood bank at MCH. This is the condition of a blood bank where thousands of people visit on a daily basis.

The bystanders of patients have been, for quite long, demanding either increasing the staff strength or setting up an additional blood bank. In fact, the situation is turning worse each passing day. It is not just the collection of blood; the entire process is so time-consuming that samples need to be screened to identify several diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and so on. Sometimes, the samples have to be separated into components and processed before storage.

As the hospital is visited by thousands of patients every day, expansion of the blood bank with adequate staff is not something that can be wished away by the state government, feel the patients.

At present, the bank has only 18 technicians, while several posts are vacant. This situation, in fact, emerged about two months ago. An employee at the blood bank said that posts such as staff nurse, phlebotomist, social worker, receptionist and blood bank attenders are inevitable for a blood bank. All these posts are still vacant here. Even though the blood bank has been raised to model blood bank status, the vacant posts are yet to be filled by the authorities.

A standard blood bank should also have a counsellor, who should hold a counselling before the blood samples are taken, to detect whether the donor has any disease. Interestingly, the Medical College model blood bank doesn’t have one. With the post vacant, it is the PG medical students who handle this session.

The blood bank has an excellent infrastructure and 24-hour generator back-up facility, but not enough staff to run it smoothly and be beneficial to the patients, most of whom belong to the poorer sections of society.

The staff here have been demanding posting of additional hands without delay. They said that a number of official reminders were sent to the state government in this regard, but no action has been taken so far.

When contacted, MCH Superintendent Dr K Mohandas refuted the charge that several posts are vacant at the blood bank. However, he admitted that the facility, at present, lacks a staff nurse.

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