4/28/2014

Sri Lankan eye surgeons reject the lenses supplied by the government for cataract surgeries at public hospitals

Sri Lanka Ministry of Health sources say that the low income group patients suffer at the government hospitals since the doctors discourage the patients to use the medical equipment and services provided free of charge to the patients free of charge.

This practice is common in many of the government hospitals. The doctors often direct the patients to obtain laboratory reports from private laboratories claiming that the reports provided by the government hospital labs cannot be trusted.

However, the cause for the low quality of the medical equipment and services supplied by the government hospitals can be identified as the commissions related to purchasing and  drawbacks in management. The same employees work in both government and private labs in most cases. They work full time in public hospitals and part time in private hospitals. The services they deliver at private hospitals are considered better even though the laboratory conditions have no very wide differences.

Privatization has penetrated the public service in a way the public health services are underrated by the public employees themselves who are in connivance with the private sector.

In one of the latest reports, state owned The Dinamina Sinhala daily reported that some government hospital eye surgeons reject to use the lenses provided by the hospital free of charge in cataract surgeries. They reportedly insist the patients to buy a lens produced by a certain company. The newspaper said that the government service eye surgeons were earning a fat commission of 51% from the lens which is sold at Rs. 20,000 whilst its actual value is Rs. 8000.

However, the patients say that they cannot reject the quality issues of the doctors raise about the lenses supplied by the public hospitals. After all it is their eye, they say, which they do not want to risk to test the quality of the state acquisitions.

It is default that the people suspect the products and services supplied by the public sector due to corruption in tender processes through which politicians and officials earn exorbitant commissions. 

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