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VA Menon-: J Inst of Engineers 1969, 49, 73-77.

In an investigation carried out at the instance of Government of India, Mr Ernbourg, W.H.O. X-ray Technician, in 1960 61 found that between 40% and 50% X-ray equipment are idle in Government and quasi government medical institutions all over the country. This paper deals with reasons and suggests a remedy for improving the situation because when society creates an institution for delivering health care to the community, it expects the institution to give fair returns on the investment of resources. When facilities made available to such an institution are not put to use, when required, then the community suffers. One of the main reasons for non-utilisation of available facilities is the unserviceable condition of equipments. The main cause for this state of affairs is poor distribution and paucity of maintenance facilities available. These two reasons made servicing of equipment very expensive. Administrative constraints under which the institution delivering health care works, makes the costly service inaccessible to them or creates considerable delay in its availability. Comparing the loss to the community due to idle equipment and cost of creating and running a cheap service organisation for maintenance of equipment, the latter appears profitable. On the basis of experience of X-ray equipment maintenance in NTI during the preceding period, the average cost per maintenance or repair services is worked out. By comparing it with cost of similar service available to an average institution it is shown that to effectively cover institutions over a wide area, a cheap service organization which has units distributed very widely in the country is required.

The estimated loss of Rs. 71 million can be brought down to 11 million with annual expenditure of only 7 million. Thus, a community can gain to the extent of 53 million every year by way of better facilities. For this purpose an investment of 3.5 million is required on capital account for creating a training centre for maintenance personnel and 0.8 million for running it. Such a centre can provide the man power required for running a country wide service organization.