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Shortage of medical equipment disrupts Turkey’s healthcare services: report

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A report drafted by an opposition lawmaker has revealed that healthcare services in Turkey have been disrupted due to the lack of critical medical equipment, according to the Kronos news website.

The report, drafted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, has been submitted to the party’s leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

The cost of medical equipment, most of which is procured from abroad, has risen sharply in Turkey in recent years due to the chronic weakness of the Turkish lira. Expenditures have been further stretched by the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, titled “The Healthcare System is Sounding an Alarm,” talks about a serious shortage of medical equipment in Turkey, which leads to cancellations or long delays in the performance of crucial surgeries, especially due to the lack of screening devices.

Heart pacemakers, brain stimulators and cranial drills are out of stock, according to the report.

İlgezdi puts the blame for the medical equipment shortage in Turkey on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. She says in the report that the supply chain management in the healthcare sector no longer functions mainly due to two reasons. One reason, according to İlgezdi, is that the AKP government granted the authority to procure medical equipment for hospitals to contractors, which prioritize their profits over the needs of the hospitals. According to İlgezdi, these companies refuse to procure a critical medical device or prefer to wait if it is too expensive and pay a fine for not procuring it, which is lower than the cost of the device.

Another reason cited by the CHP lawmaker is that medical equipment suppliers are not regularly paid by the government for the medical devices they sell to state hospitals. She said there are medical companies that have not been paid by the government for up to 10 months after the sale of medical devices.

Suppliers have long complained about delays in payment, which hit them hard because they are paid in lira according to the exchange rate at the date of the contract.

The Turkish lira has lost around 50 percent of its value against the dollar since last year.

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