| SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack, Dec. 12: S.C.B. Medical College Hospital in the Millennium City has landed in a controversy over the alleged misuse of funds collected from patients towards users’ fees. Now, Orissa High Court has admitted a PIL seeking a vigilance probe into it.
The petition has sought judicial intervention for adoption of proper process of accounting and auditing of the funds collected as users’ fees at the premier hospital of the state.
Nibedita Das (25), of Raghunathpur in Jagatsinghpur district, and Deepak Kumar Patnaik (42), of Radhacharanpur in Khurda district, have filed the petition.
“Money being collected in the name of users’ fees is being simply looted by a handful for which the people are suffering as a whole,” the petitioners have alleged.
“After a preliminary hearing, the two-judge bench of chief justice V. Gopal Gowda and justice B.N. Mohapatra has sought replies from the state government, while directing for listing of the PIL for hearing next week,” petitioner counsel Amit Prasad Bose told The Telegraph today.
“Among those issued notices on December 9 for filing responses include secretary (health and family welfare), director of medical education and training, revenue divisional commissioner (Central division), superintendent of S.C.B. Medical College Hospital, principal of S.C.B. Medical College and S.P (vigilance), Cuttack,” Bose said.
According to the petition, the Swasthya Bikash Samiti, constituted by the government to monitor patient care and health services in the hospital, had raised objections in its recent meeting and did not approve more than Rs 11 lakh shown towards ‘miscellaneous expenditure’.
“Every purchase above the amount of Rs 50,000 must be through open tender and the notice should be published in at least one of the major Oriya news papers of the state. For purchases over Rs 2 lakh, notice must be published in at least one national daily in English. But purchases of goods worth more than Rs 50,000 are being done without calling any tenders. Store purchases are being made for handwash lotion for more than Rs 3 lakh per year without calling any tender from the users’ fees fund,” the PIL contends.
“Moreover, when state government is supplying huge quantities of I.V and blood transfusion sets, micropore, pavadine ladine lotion, folysis catheter, syringe, phenyl and gauge cotton dressing materials the same are being sold outside. The patients are being forced to purchase them at their own costs which they are supposed to get free of cost from the hospital,” said the petitioners.
“Free medicines provided for patients are also being looted, depriving the poor patients of the benefit,” the petition further alleged.