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Vigilance probe unearths ‘scam' in AAP's Mohalla Clinics; docs treat 2 patients a minute

Author: Astha Saxena
Publication: DNA India
Date: February 22, 2017
URL:    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-Investigation-by-the-Vigilance-dept-unearths-scam-in-AAP-s-Mohalla-Clinics-2330819

Treating one patient in a minute is impressive, but to treat two is truly record breaking, some would even say impossible. But that allegedly is what a group of specialised doctors are doing. According to the Vigilance Department, it has received complaints that doctors working for the Delhi government’s pilot project — Mohalla Clinic, are treating 533 patients per day in just four hours.

If one does the maths, this means that every patient is given just 36 seconds to state his/her medical ailment and be treated.

Not surprisingly, the Vigilance Department initiated an internal probe two weeks ago on the overall functioning of the mohalla clinics. But is that not just the questionable speed at which the patients are allegedly being treated that is the issue. Documents accessed by DNA show the department had received many other complaints against the pilot project which had driven them to initiate the probe.

Asked to comment, Ashwani Kumar, Director of Vigilance Department, Delhi government said, “We have received complaints on the matter and all these issues are being investigated.”

In a letter, the department has raised 11 points of concern to which it sought replies from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and the Chief Medical District Officer (CDMO). The former DGHS has submitted his reply to the department and the CDMOs are now preparing their replies to send to the Vigilance Department.

Senior officials in the department confirm that the letter sent to the DGHS and CDMO used the word ‘scam’ while addressing the clinics. They said the word had been used because of what the probe has revealed so far.

“Doctors in the mohalla clinics are making false entries of patients, hence making up to Rs 4 lakh per month, income touching more than that of the Prime Minister and the President. Everyone in the health department knows this, but are doing nothing,” said the Vigilance Department in its letter.

Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain as well as the Delhi government’s spokesperson did not respond to queries sent by DNA.

Currently, there are 110 mohalla clinics operating from various parts of the Capital with 106 doctors working in these clinics. Every doctor gets Rs 30 per patient per day in these clinics which are operational from 9 am to 1 pm.

Vigilance officers probing the clinics says that since doctors are being paid to treat a patient, a day; they are duping patients by giving them ‘useless’ medication to make them come back.

“Doctors are prescribing useless medications to make patient come back, as they make money from these visits. We have also found that false patients’ entries have been carried out by doctors in these clinics to earn more,” said a senior official of the Vigilance Department.

Sources in the Health Department confirmed the allegations. The source spoke about a doctor, living in the north-west district of the Capital who has earned Rs 1.8 lakh per month.

“This means, on an average the doctor who is earning Rs 1.8 lakh per month is treating one patient per minute,” said a senior official from the Health Department.

Senior officials also said that by allegedly ‘treating’ such patients in such record time, the doctors are violating norms. During the inaugration of the clinics in 2015, doctors were told to spend at least 7-10 minutes on a single patient.
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