Vigilance dept gets complaint Delhi mohalla clinics treating patients in under 40 seconds

'Doctors in the mohalla clinics are making false entries of patients, hence making up to Rs 4 lakh per month,' the dept said in a letter seeking replies of officials. In photo: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Photograph:( AFP )

DNA New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 22, 2017, 05.31 AM (IST)

By Astha Saxena

The Delhi government's vigilance department has received complaints that the capital's mohalla clinics are treating some 533 patients a day in four hours -- or two patients in little over a minute.

There are currently a 110 mohalla clinics in the capital with a total of 106 doctors staffing them. The clinics are open from 9 am to 1 pm. 

If one were to do the math, that means every patient is given only 36 seconds to state his or her ailment, be treated, and be sent on her way.

The vigilance department has initiated a probe into the functioning of the mohalla clinics. But they are apparently looking at more than just the speed at which patients are allegedly being treated.

Documents accessed by DNA show the department has received many other complaints against the pilot project.

Asked to comment, vigilance department director Ashwani Kumar, Delhi government, said, “We have received complaints on the matter and all these issues are being investigated.”

In a letter, the department has raised 11 points of concern to which it sought replies from the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) and the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO). The former DGHS has submitted his reply to the department and the CDMOs are now preparing their replies to send to the Vigilance Department.

Senior officials in the department confirm that the letter sent to the DGHS and CDMO used the word ‘scam’ while addressing the clinics. They said the word had been used because of what the probe has revealed so far.

“Doctors in the mohalla clinics are making false entries of patients, hence making up to Rs 4 lakh per month, income touching more than that of the Prime Minister and the President. Everyone in the health department knows this, but are doing nothing,” said the Vigilance Department in its letter.

Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain as well as the Delhi government’s spokesperson did not respond to queries sent them by DNA.

Every mohalla clinic doctor gets Rs 30 per patient per day.

Vigilance officers probing the clinics says that since doctors are being paid per patient per day, they are duping patients by giving them "useless" medicatio. That makes the patients come back.

“Doctors are prescribing useless medications to make patient come back, as they make money from these visits," said a senior vigilance department official. 

He claimed that they are also padding the books.  

"We have also found that false patients’ entries have been carried out by doctors in these clinics to earn more,” he said.

A source in the health department confirmed the allegations. The source spoke of a doctor, living in the north-west district of the capital, who has earned Rs 1.8 lakh a month.

“This means, on an average, the doctor who is earning Rs 1.8 lakh per month is treating one patient per minute,” said a senior official from the Health Department.

Senior officials added that by "treating" patients in such record time, the mohalla clinic doctors are violating norms. During inauguration of the clinics in 2015, doctors were told to spend at least 7-10 minutes on a single patient.

(This story first appeared in DNA)