The Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) management has purchased medicine for the health facility in excess of Rs100 million out of the allocated Rs300 million.
According to sources, an inquiry has held officials of finance, purchase and medicine departments responsible for the alleged irregularity.
The sources said that the inquiry report has been sent to the BBH medical superintendent (MS) to initiate proceedings against the officials responsible for purchasing the gratuitous medicine.
According to the sources, the procurement had been done at a time when the medicine was not needed. The procurement had been made in violation of a letter issued by the Punjab government in 2020, restricting the purchase beyond the allocated budget.
After it came to the surface, BBH MS Dr Nawaz Khokar had appointed a doctor as an inquiry officer, who probe the matter and unearthed an irregularity of Rs100 million.
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According to the sources, during the inquiry, the involved officials involved in the irregularity managed to adjust the sum worth Rs30 million against the purchased medicine.
The inquiry also said that the set rule for procuring extra medicine was flaunted, while the officials could not give a satisfactory answer why the drugs were purchased in such a huge quantity.
The inquiry report will be presented to Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid at a meeting of the university syndicate scheduled for next week, the sources said.
When contacted, BBH MS Dr Nawaz Khokar said the procurement had been made per the set procedure and they will take approval from the competent authority regarding the procurement of medicine in excess of the allocated budget.
Allied hospitals get no uplift budget
Meanwhile, none of the three allied hospitals in Rawalpindi has gotten a share in the development schemes in the current financial year.
The Punjab government has allocated Rs80 billion for hospitals in South Punjab, Lahore, and other cities in the current fiscal year, however, the Benazir Bhutto Hospital, the Holy Family Hospital and the District Headquarters Hospital could not get a single development scheme.
All three allied hospitals receive up to 4,000 patients in the emergency and around 7,000 in outpatient departments daily.
Besides this, pathological laboratories, wards, and operation theatres of these hospitals also face an influx of patients from Rawalpindi, surrounding tehsils, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Except for Rawalpindi, the provincial government has also earmarked Rs20 billion for healthcare facilities in other cities.
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Only the renovation of emergency and other wards in Rawalpindi DHQ for Rs 80 million is under way which was started by the previous government.
A development scheme relating to the renovation of the paediatric ward by the previous government is also under way at the BBH.
However, only one development scheme worth Rs220 million for installing electromedical equipment has been started by the current government is under way at the HFH.
The allied hospitals have an accumulative budget of Rs6.5 billion, which has not been increased by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial.
The allied hospitals also receive patients from the cantonment areas as the only Cantonment General Hospital offers limited services to the civilian population.
Sources said that the uplifting of existing infrastructure, medical workers and construction of new healthcare facilities have become inevitable for improvement in the health system in these three major hospitals.
The sources said that the existing healthcare system of Rawalpindi will buckle if urgent steps were not taken to upgrade it.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2021.