Medical shops closed, patients at receiving end

Pokhara, July 30

The closure of medical shops operating on the premises of the Western Regional Hospital in Pokhara has thrown patients and their kin at the receiving end.

Shops on the premises of the hospital have been shut since the start of the current fiscal in the wake of the Supreme Court’s order to prohibit private clinics from the hospital.

The court’s order had come at a time when there were preparations to allow new operators to run medical shops from the premises, after hearing a writ filed on behalf of the consumer rights protection forum.

Having issued an interim order on June 28, the court had further issued a mandamus in the name of the hospital to run medical outlets on its own on June 14. Another writ was filed against the apex court order later.

Commenting on the court’s mandamus, Medical Superintendent Dr Shreekrishna Shrestha rued the inability of the hospital to run medical outlets on its own, citing the lengthy and complicated official rigmarole and legal handicaps.

“Though we know this has put the patients at the receiving end, we are helpless as we don’t have enough manpower to run shops on our own and lack other necessary preparations to start shops anytime soon,” said Dr Shrestha.

“As per the public procurement act we need to call a tender in order to purchase medicine worth more than Rs 3 lakh, so there is no chance of opening medical shops for at least two months,” he said, adding that preparations were on to open medical shops.

Earlier, the hospital had allowed a private businessman to operate from the hospital by paying Rs 1.5 million rupees per month.

The 350-bed hospital provided services to 400,000 patients last fiscal. People from different districts in Gandaki and Dhawalagiri come to avail of the service at the hospital.