08 May 2012
By Santosh Andhale
Mixed reactions among city blood banks as SBTC proposes 50 per cent hike
Factoring in inflation, the State blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) has sent a proposal to the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) that the price of a unit of blood be hiked by 50 per cent. If the NBTC gives its go–ahead, the price of one unit of blood will go up from Rs 850 to Rs 1,300. The hiked rate of blood components will come into effect within three months, say sources. Once blood banks at private and trustrun hospitals up the rates, public blood banks are likely to follow suit.
However, news of the proposed hike has garnered mixed reactions among Pune’s private blood banks.
Shantilal Suratwala, chief trustee, of the Acharya Anandrushiji Blood Bank, said, “We don’t have any problem with current rates of blood and related items. Though the State Government will increase the rates, we will not increase ours. Also, instead of rates, the State should take care of the quality of the blood.’
Dr Dileep Wani, national head, Jankalyan Blood Bank and member of the State Blood Transfusion Council however disagreed, saying that current rates were outdated. “The current rates were fixed way back in 2002, which are irrelevant in the current situation. The government either needs to revise it or subsidise it,” he added
The state has 281 blood banks. Five years ago, the NBTC had fixed the rate of blood components to eliminate profiteering by blood banks. This policy was to be followed by all states. The decision was taken after inflation rates rose and the state saw the need to revise service charges.
Director of SBTC, Dr Girish Chaudhary, said that the revised rate would benefit private and trust-run blood banks. “But once these blood banks increase rates, state –and civic–run banks too may hike the rate to some extent.” Currently, civic and state blood banks charge Rs 450 for a unit of blood, he said.
Dr Chaudhary added that the SBTC often receives complaints of private blood banks charging higher. “Their justification is that they use modern technology to process blood. We don't have the powers to act against these blood banks; it is the Food and Drugs Administration department which can.” The proposal sent out by the SBTC has also suggested that service charge on blood products be hiked every year either considering the annual inflation rate or by 10 per cent annually. According to an SBTC official, Maharashtra currently has a collection of 13.43 lakh blood units. And that is considered a safe enough stock of blood.
Managing trustee of Dombivali–based Plasma Blood Bank, Shailendra Bhagwat, said. “The rate should be higher given that screening of blood is done using high–end machinery. We can’t compromise on quality,” said Bhagwat.”
Health minister Suresh Shetty said that the state had sent out the proposal to the centre after all blood banks expressed a desire to hike the rate. “We held a meeting of all stakeholders and set up a committee,” said Shetty. “If after a new rate is approved, we learn of blood banks charging more, we take stringent action. The cases will be referred to the FDA department,” said Shetty.HOSPITALS, NOT PATIENT’S MUST ARRANGE FOR BLOOD
- The State Blood Transfusion Council has sent out a notification to all blood banks in Maharashtra, making it mandatory for hospitals and nursing homes to arrange for blood for patients requiring blood transfusion.
- Although, this is a longstanding rule, none of the hospitals follows the rule. Instead, hospitals ask a patient’s relatives to arrange for blood prior to surgery.
- If at all a hospital provides blood, it compels the patient’s relatives to replace the blood transfused into the patient.
We have no problem with current rates. The State should take care of the quality of blood insteadSHANTILAL SURATWALA, CHIEF TRUSTEE, ACHARYA ANANDRUSHIJI BLOOD BANK