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Financial mismanagement unearthed in hospitals

December 23, 2012

RAWALPINDI, Dec 22: Three government hospitals in the garrison city have collectively procured medicines worth Rs130 million from the market in the current fiscal year (2012-13) without the consent of the principal of the Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC).

The RMC principal is the chief executive of the three teaching hospitals.

An official in the RMC told Dawn that the financial mismanagement was revealed in a meeting of the board of management of the RMC and its three allied hospitals on Saturday.

The meeting with Dr Mohammad Aslam, the chairman of the board, in the chair was attended by RMC Principal Prof Dr Afzal Farooqi, Director Health Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal, Holy Family Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Arshad Sabir, Benazir Bhutto Hospital MS Dr Asif Qadir Mir, DHQ Hospital’s Dr Sher Ali Khan and other officials.

The principal asked the medical superintendents to clarify their position, said the RMC official.

He added that the Punjab government had allocated Rs540 million to the three hospitals for provision of free medicines to the patients during the current fiscal year. So far, he added, the hospitals had purchased drugs worth Rs130 million.

“The medical superintendents were of the view that the companies selected by RMC principal for supply of the medicines had failed to provide the first installment of the drugs, forcing the hospitals to purchase the medicines on their own,” the official said.

The medical superintendents also said providing free medicine to indoor and emergency patients was the responsibility of the hospitals. They have been facing shortage of essential drugs. However, the contractors failed to supply the first installment of about 40 per cent medicines.

In the previous years, the RMC principal office used to fix the rates with the pharmaceutical companies while orders for medicines were placed by the medical superintendents in accordance with the requirements of their hospitals.

However, this fiscal year the principal selected the firms and placed the orders on his own.

On the other hand, the three hospital administrations also procured medicines on a day-to-day basis to meet their requirements.

The RMC official said the hospital administrations had been asked to present their record in the next board of management meeting to be held on Tuesday.

“The RMC principal asked the medical superintendents to maintain financial disciplines. He also sought the details about equipment procurements and financial matters of the hospitals,” the official said.

When contacted, the RMC principal admitted the financial indiscipline in the hospitals.

He said his office had placed the orders based on the requirements of the hospitals.

“The current budget for medicines will increase to Rs553 million if this act was declared legal,” he said. In case we make any supply curtailment, the supplier may also move the court, he added.

Meanwhile, the RMC board of management also asked the medical superintendents to explain the recruitment of daily-wage employees. It may be noted that the DHQ hospital has recruited 105 such employees, BBH 45 and HFH 52 employees.

The RMC principal asked the DHQ hospital medical superintendent to explain the recruitment of more employees despite the fact that his hospital had less number of beds compared to the two hospitals.