Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Leading hospitals run without Consultant Transfusion Physicians

17 Aug 2023 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • A transfusion physician plays a leading role within the  hospital by ensuring a reliable and adequate supply of safe and  effective blood products and matching with recipients.          

By Sheain Fernandopulle   

Several leading hospitals including Karapitiya Teaching  Hospital, Gampaha, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Ampara, Vavuniya and Monaragala District General Hospital are currently operating without  adequately qualified transfusion physicians, resulting in a significant  gap in the provision of essential transfusion services, it is learnt.   

At present, the duties of a consultant transfusion  physician at the aforementioned hospitals are covered by senior  registrars who have completed only the post local training (post-MD).   
According to the regulations of Postgraduate Institute of  Medicine, a senior registrar should be overseen by a consultant  transfusion physician.   

As a case in point, the current senior registrar at the Karapitiya Hospital is due to travel for overseas training, leaving the  hospital without a transfusion physician. Being a teaching hospital and  the largest hospital in Southern Province, Karapitiya Hospital caters to  a large number of critically ill patients, including those who need  plasma exchange and plasma paresis.   
In addition to this conducting blood donation campaigns,  the Hospital maintains the stocks for the entire Karapitiya cluster of  blood banks such as Kamburupitiya, Balapitiya and Maternity Hospital  Mahamodara. Also, this hospital is a training centre for post graduate  training in transfusion. However, operations have come to a standstill  due to the non-availability of a qualified consultant at the hospital.     

Meanwhile, three retired consultant transfusion Physicians  at the Colombo National Hospital, Castle Street Hospital for Women and  Lady Ridgeway Hospital have been asked to stay due to the unavailability  of qualified transfusion physicians (Board certified) to fill the  vacancies.   

According to sources, the three consultants retired on  June 30 upon completion of 63 years; however, the Health Ministry has  been compelled to request the trio to stay on humanitarian grounds and  considering the urgency of their service at the three hospitals.   

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has projected about 50  transfusion physicians for 2025; however, there are only 30 transfusion  physicians of which six have migrated during the last two years while three  retired this year, As such, the remaining physicians are 21, which is a  serious concern according to health experts.   
Furthermore, there are currently only two eligible  consultant transfusion physicians available to fill ten vacancies, as  indicated by the 2022 annual transfer list.