Safdarjung Hospital’s Sports Injury Centre Under Investigationby Opinion Express October 17, 2018 0 comments
The Sports Injury Centre (SIC) at capital’s Safdarjung Hospital has been put under an audit by the Centre for alleged misappropriation of funds and misuse of facilities.
The Union Health Ministry has set up a seven-member panel, headed by Joint Secretary Rajeev Manjhi, to take up the special audit of SIC’s functioning in various areas ranging from equipments and facilities for operation theatres to their procurement and maintenance. The committee has a one-month deadline to submit its report.
This is for the first time that the functioning of the SIC, which was inaugurated in September 2010, just before the Commonwealth Games, with an objective to provide integrated surgical, rehabilitative and diagnostic services under one roof for the management of sports injuries and related joint disorders, is being audited.
The panel was formed following complaints from Dr R K Arya, who recently took over as the SIC Director. Prior to him, the SIC was headed by Dr Deepak Chaudhary, who has now joined a private hospital in the national capital.
In fact, sources said, Dr Chaudhary’s resignation is yet to be accepted by the Ministry in the wake of the allegations of corruption in the SIC during his tenure.
The panel is already on job: Constituted on September 20, 2018, the panel has the mandate to audit equipment and facilities for operation theatres with reference to their procurement, maintenance and allied expenditure with particular reference to their usability and usefulness. It is also looking into “equipment and facilities for physiotherapy unit of the centre with reference to their usability and usefulness,” said the sources.
Two private diagnostic facilities-M/s Mahajan Imaging and M/s Khanna Pathcare -set up on the premises of the SIC have also come under the scanner. Sources said that the panel is auditing “the revenue sharing with M/s Mahajan Imaging and M/s Khanna Pathcare for radiological and pathological facilities respectively at the SIC”.
The other area the panel is probing is about the implants needed by the SIC and Safdarjung Hospital for reconstructive and Orthopaedic plastic surgeries, their availability and plan of procurement by the former.
The team will also audit issues related to allied healthcare professionals, recruitment, and service conditions among others.
Sensing widespread bungling, the Ministry has also asked the committee to look into the status of the SIC with regard to whether it is an autonomous body/semi-autonomous body or department under the Safdarjung Hospital administration. Issues related to budget provision for the two would also be looked into.
The other members of the panel are Dr HL Nag, Professor, Department of Orthopedic, AIIMS, Dr Deep Sharma, Additional Professor and Head of Department (HoD) Orthopedic from JIPMER, Puducherry, Dr DD Maheshwari, Under Secretary (Health Ministry) and Amit Choubey, Deputy Director, DGHS and one representative each from IFD and Procurement Division in the Health Ministry.
When contacted by The Pioneer, while Dr Arya refused to speak on the matter citing confidentiality, sources said it was he who had rung the alarm bells, seeking a special audit of the SIC. Incidentally, soon after taking over as the head of the SIC , he had also cut down the prices of some implants. (See box)
However, this is not the first time that the Ministry has investigated the functioning of the prominent centre which is meant to treat sportspersons with their injuries.
Last year, in April, the Health Ministry’s Directorate General of Health Services had set up a three-member committee to look into what was happening at the SIC. The panel members were Dr K.T. Bhowmik, Dr Anita Jain and Dr R.K. Anand, all from Safdarjung Hospital. The DGHS had noted that the personnel requirements at the SIC for both annual maintenance and operation and facility management services were excessively high. However, the fate of the report is not known till date for the best reasons known to the Ministry.
Writer: Archana Jyoti
Courtesy: The Pioneer