HEALTH & LAXITY: Aseptic axe on blood separation unit – a persistent cultural problem ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 21: The licence of the blood component separation unit at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital has been cancelled after it failed to follow the aseptic guidelines laid down by the State Drug Control Authority.
The unit, the only one of its kind in north Bengal and Sikkim and which has not been functioning since June 11, used to cater for more than 120 private and government hospitals since its inception in June 2006.
According to sources, a four-member team from the State Drug Control Authority and the National Drug Control Authority had visited the unit at the Regional Blood Transfusion Centre of the NBMCH on May 6. During the visit, the team found that units for refrigeration and blood component separation were functioning in the same room though the facilities’ separation had been recommended earlier.
“The blood component separation is an aseptic process — it needs to be done under sterile condition by doctors and technicians wearing protective clothing and masks to prevent contamination of blood components. As the refrigeration of blood and blood components requires staff to frequently move in and out of the room, aseptic conditions cannot be maintained. In an inspection in 2009, too, a team had objected to this arrangement and recommended shifting the refrigeration unit to another room. But during their visit in May this year, the team found that the recommendation had not been heeded and cancelled the licence. They intimated us through a letter sent on June 10,” said a senior official at the RBTC.
The official cited space constraints for the presence of refrigeration and the blood component separation unit in the same room.
The unit used to provide platelets, fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and concentrated red blood corpuscles (RBC) to patients admitted to the private and government hospitals in north Bengal and Sikkim.
“Every month, there was a high requisition for the blood components and we used to supply more than 150 units each of platelets, FFP, and concentrated RBC,” said the official.
Prior to the set-up of the centre at the NBMCH in 2006, Calcutta and Guwahati were the nearest places where blood components were available.
“It was easy for patients to get the blood components from the NBMCH and we used to get requisitions from as far as Cooch Behar, Malda, Balurghat and Sikkim. Now the patients will have to get their requirements from Calcutta or Guwahati. This will be time-consuming especially for those patients whose treatment cannot wait and need the blood component immediately,” said the official.
Mridumoy Das, the RBTC director, said: “We received the letter from the State Drug Control Authority on June 10, informing that the licence of blood component separation unit had been cancelled and it has not been functioning since June 11. I have informed the NBMCH authorities about it and it is up to them to take the necessary measures.”
The superintendent of the NBMCH, Samir Ghosh Roy, refused comment.