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Punjab Govt orders audit of mohalla clinics with patient count of over 80 a day

Those found ‘fudging figures’ to pocket money won’t be spared, says Health Minister

Punjab Govt orders audit of mohalla clinics with patient count of over 80 a day

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Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, October 17

The state government has ordered a special audit of all Aam Aadmi Clinics (AACs) where “the patient count has exceeded 80 per day”. Health Minister Balbir Singh said he had sought a detailed report on the issue and strict action would be taken against “anyone fudging figures” to pocket money.

Speaking to The Tribune, Balbir Singh said there could be some lapses due to which he had ordered a special audit and had also sought a report on the number of patients visiting the clinics. “We will cross-check the patients with their Aadhaar card and mobile phone numbers. No negligence will be tolerated and anyone found guilty won’t be spared,” he said.

The Health Minister said the daily count at clinics near slums and labour colonies was higher. The government was considering “double shifts to accommodate the rush” at these clinics. “At certain clinics in Ludhiana, we are getting a huge response. At many clinics, genuine patients are also turning up in hundreds. This is our successful module and has helped over 60 lakh patients till date,” he said.

“However, I have asked for a report from every district where the patient count exceeded 80 per day and have also sought digital data from clinics where the count is over 120 per day. Both the patients and the staff at such clinics will face the music in case of any wrongdoing,” he warned.

Under its flagship health project, the government offers Rs 50 per patient to doctors, who also get a fixed salary of around Rs 63,000 per month at mohalla clinics.

Besides a fixed salary, a pharmacist and a clinical assistant get Rs 12 and Rs 10 per patient, respectively.

It was highlighted in these columns that the health staff deputed at certain Aam Aadmi Clinics were minting money by examining over 160 patients on a daily basis. Reports suggest that at certain clinics, the patient count had even exceeded 200 per day. The role of the staff had come under the scanner for allegedly registering fake patients to get incentives.

“It is not possible to examine over 200 patients within a few hours. A thorough probe should be conducted,” said Leader of the Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa.

In Patiala, Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney has already ordered a probe (special audit) into the functioning of five clinics, where the average footfall of patients is over 100 per day.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Civil Medical Service Association (PCMSA) has said: “Such incidents vindicate the association’s stand that all recruitments to the AACs should be via the regular channel. A regular medical officer (PCMS) can be hired at roughly half the amount being currently paid to an empanelled doctor.”

The lure

  • Under its flagship health project, the government offers Rs 50 per patient to doctors
  • The doctors also get a fixed salary of around Rs 63,000 per month at mohalla clinics
  • Besides salary, pharmacist and clinical assistant get Rs 12 and Rs 10 per patient, respectively
  • Staff deputed at certain Aam Aadmi Clinics were allegedly minting money by claiming to examine over 160 patients daily

Biometric machines for patients on cards

To check “fake OPD entries” at Aam Aadmi Clinics, the state government is planning to introduce biometric registration for patients. Sources said every clinic would be equipped with a biometric machine and the process for procuring such machines was already underway

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