Sanctioning of more funds by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for KEM Hospital was a part of the discussion at the Standing Committee meeting held yesterday. However, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator and standing committee member Chetan Kadam, pointed out that a lot of money had gone down the drain after expensive machines bought by hospitals were lying unused.
As an example, he mentioned the EMG machine, used to carry out the electromyogram test, at Sion hospital. The expensive machine was bought in 2009 but was still lying unused due to lack of technicians to operate it. The concern raised by Kadam highlighted the lack of skilled technical staff at BMC-run hospitals. Though the BMC has spent lakhs for purchasing advanced machinery for both surgical and pathological use, at civic-run hospitals, due to lack of sufficient staff to operate these machineries, they are either lying idle or are rarely used.
Kadam also presented a video clip in the standing committee that showed the EMG machinery lying unused at Sion hospital. He also asked for clarification about the cost of the EMG machine at Sion Hospital and the number of patients who have benefited from it so far. In reply to his questions, a decision to conduct audits of all machinery installed across BMC-run hospitals was taken in the meeting. According to the decision, machinery purchased and installed by the BMC at hospitals will be audited in terms of the working condition and frequency of usage.
The reports will be put up on the website for better transparency in the process of purchasing new machineries. “I am not against purchasing new machineries, but at least they need to be used,” said Kadam. “If the administration is not going to use the equipments then why waste taxpayers’ money. However, the fact that the administration will conduct regular audits of these machineries and ensure that they are used properly is a positive development.”
Geeta Gawli, the Health Committee chairperson, said, “Not many machineries are lying unused, but yes, due to lack of sufficient staff and technicians, they are rarely used.” Aseem Gupta, Additional Municipal Commissioner (eastern suburbs), who was the acting commissioner for the Standing committee meeting, said, “We will be carrying out an audit of all the purchases done by the BMC and will put it on the website. There needs to be a check on whether such equipments are being used or not and I will ask the AMC in-charge Health to look in to this.”