LAHORE: Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz has approved various proposals to steer the medical institutes out of administrative and financial crises.

The chief minister chaired a meeting of the syndicates of five public sector medical universities. The most important development of the meeting was that the CM approved a proposal to conduct “first time third-party validation of accounts of all the institutes” including Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Lahore; Rawalpindi Medical University; Faisalabad Medical University; Nishtar Medical University, Multan; and University of Child Health, Lahore.

Minister Khwaja Salman Rafique, the vice chancellors of these varsities, representatives of the health department and other officials attended the meeting.

A senior official told Dawn that the chief minister had approved third-party validation of accounts of all the institutes falling under the administrative control of the Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department of Punjab. He said another important decision was about the release of funds for the completion of the mother and child hospital at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. He directed the finance department and other authorities to secure the amount which was about to lapse.

The official said Hamza Shehbaz directed the vice chancellors of the medical universities to hire a reputed chartered accountant firm already prequalified by the P&D Board with the objective to conduct a detailed annual audit of accounts of the institutes for 2021-22 financial year. The audit should covered mandatory areas including assets and liabilities of the institutes, income and expenditure, procedures allowed by the institutes for utilisation of the financial resources, outputs of the institutions against utilisation of financial resources, major and minor financial violations, and recommendations to strengthen the financial control.

The CM further directed that the firm should be hired by the end of July and audit report must be presented before the Board of Management/Syndicate of the medical universities.

Separate agenda items presented by the vice chancellors also were approved during the syndicate meeting.

As for the Institute of Child Health University, he said, the meeting approved Rs160 million to disburse/use them under various heads including procurement of transport, information technology equipment, furniture and books/journals. These are mandatory requirement to get approval from the Higher Education Commission and the matter had been pending since the Children’s Hospital, Lahore, was granted the status of first public sector medical university for children.

The syndicate approved procurement of machinery and equipment under the ADP scheme at the Allied Hospital, and the contract of security services for Feb 1 to June 30, 2022 (extendable for further one year) at the DHQ hospital. It also approved the contract of janitorial services for the DHQ hospital and repair and maintenance contract of CT Scan with spare parts except consumables amounting to US$ 69,600 per annum.

About NMU Multan, the meeting approved the nomination of three new members of the syndicate as the three-year tenure of previous members had been completed. Similarly, the syndicate also granted approval to start MPhil anatomy programme and two-year Diploma Medical Radiology and Diagnostics Programme at the NMU.

Several health schemes and proposed programmes of the Rawalpindi Medical University and the Fatima Jinnah Medical University were accorded approval. The syndicate approved Rs76.2 million for Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi for the establishment of neonatal block with ICU facility in Paediatrics Department.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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