NEW DELHI: Delhi government will soon restructure the governing councils of six hospitals and make the health minister the chairman of the institutions to give them “financial and functional autonomy”. CM Arvind Kejriwal recently gave his in-principle approval to the proposal and a cabinet note is likely to be moved soon.
The governing councils of the six hospitals — Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, Delhi State Cancer Institute, Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital and Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital — are currently chaired by the chief secretary and have the health and finance secretaries as members.
In a recent note to Kejriwal, health minister Satyendar Jain said the six hospitals were set up as “centres of excellence” to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic, early detection and management facilities for patients by “granting them full functional autonomy” without getting entangled in “bureaucratic rigmarole and red tape”. Set up by Delhi government in the past few years, these hospitals witness heavy footfall.
Jain, however, said that in the past three and half years, he had observed that these institutions had failed to achieve the objectives because they constantly struggled to get their proposals cleared by the government. “All proposals keep shuttling between finance, planning, administrative reforms and law departments without getting approved. They are either rejected by the finance department or get only partial approval,” Jain mentioned in a confidential note to the CM. TOI has a copy of the note.
Jain said these institutions could neither procure equipment nor had they succeeded in getting approval for manpower. “Even basic necessities like furniture, computers and stationery cannot be procured without approval of finance committee and governing council and, then, from the departments of health, IT and finance. The purpose of creating these autonomous institutions for providing world-class facilities has been defeated,” he said. “The hospitals find difficult to function to their full potential as the GCs take piecemeal decisions and put matters on files in routine manner…”
He added that despite having chief secretary of Delhi and health and finance secretaries as members, the GCs failed to clear any proposal. “Even if the proposal gets approved, it does not get implemented due to objections raised by law, finance or administrative departments at a later stage,” Jain added.
In case of two other hospitals, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences and Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurvedic Chikitsa Sansthan, where the health minister is the chairman of GC, the finance department has made its approval mandatory for any purchase through a note in July 2011, which, said Jain, had crippled the functioning of the institutions.
“Shortage of staff at various levels has become a huge bottleneck,” he said, demanding instructions to the finance department to “immediately withdraw” the order. Jain said the directors of these institutions had unanimously felt that the minister of health should be chairman of the GCs and all financial and administrative matters related to their functioning should be taken without revalidation of the government.
“All autonomous institutions, such as AIIMS, PGIMER Chandigarh, SGPGI Lucknow, IGIMS Patna and RIMS Ranchi, are either headed by the Union health minister or state health ministers and are allowed full functional autonomy.,” Jain added.