The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panel pill for AIIMS

New Delhi, June 19: A three-member expert committee will review the functioning of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and prescribe action to strengthen the institution, health minister Anbumani Ramadoss said today.

The committee will be headed by cardiac surgeon M.S. Valiathan, the former director of a top medical institution in Thiruvananthapuram, Ramadoss said after a 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The announcement follows a public stand-off between the health ministry and AIIMS director P. Venugopal who last week accused the ministry of interfering in the administration of the institute.

“Dr Venugopal is one of our most prominent and revered doctors', but the quality of administration has not been satisfactory,” Ramadoss said. “We can’t be passive spectators to this,” he said.

Ramadoss said the ministry had ordered certain changes in the AIIMS management because of administrative reasons. “We can’t openly talk about these reasons. It will be a shame on the institute,” he said.

The health ministry has received complaints about the administration from sections of the faculty, the minister said, adding that there are allegations of financial irregularities, bad administration and lack of communication between the administration and senior faculty.

In addition to examining the quality of medical services and research, the committee under Valiathan is also expected to probe reasons for what AIIMS insiders describe as “faculty discontent” that they say has fuelled an exodus.

The health secretary and the director-general of health services are the other two members.

Valiathan is no stranger to AIIMS. He had been a member of a panel to review the functioning of AIIMS departments in the mid-1980s.

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