Delhi L-G gives green light to tests in private labs

Mohalla Clinics: Saxena expresses ‘grave concern over privatisation of healthcare’, asks govt to study his suggestions

Published: 29th December 2022 07:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2022 07:58 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) VK Saxena on Wednesday gave his nod to Delhi Government’s proposal to outsource diagnostic tests done at Mohalla clinics to private laboratories.  However, the L-G, while approving the proposal of outsourcing the diagnostic services to three private labs, expresses grave concerns about “privatisation” of healthcare facilities and asked the city government to including the suggestions he made while clearing the file.

“The decision being grabbed by the AAP and its Ministers as extension of diagnostic services in Mohalla Clinics beyond 31.12.2022, is in fact, an exercise to extend private outsourcing to all Delhi Government health facilities,” the L-G noted during clearance.  

According to the officials at L-G secretariat, the privatisation concern has come after the city government in a cabinet decision taken on July 27 this year, decided to “outsource diagnostic services in Government-run health facilities, including hospitals, dispensaries, polyclinics and health camps, on the same pattern of Mohalla Clinics.

“A private  vendor was already providing diagnostic services in the Mohalla Clinics since December 2019 and its original contract of two years had been extended on two occasions since 2021, and any further extension was not possible due to tender specification. Now the services will be rendered by two more private players,” the official added.

Taking a strong objection, the L-G emphasised that the Delhi Government should have strengthened 
the existing Government health set up, so as to enable themto provide quality diagnostic services even to 
the Mohalla Clinics, instead of outsourcing them.  Patients halved, tests rises by 30% at Mohalla clinics

Meanwhile, the approval by L-G in his noting on file has also brought to the fore a few contradictory statistics about the Mohalla clinics.  The file mentioned that the number of Mohalla clinics rose from 450 in last year to 519 in 2022. However, the monthly footfall of patients being treated there came down to nearly half. Over 3,400 patients were treated in the clinics every month in the previous year. The number has fallen down to 1,700.

Interestingly, even as the number of patients came down, the number of tests being prescribed to them rose from 6,30,978 per month in 2021 to 9,30,000 tests per month in 2022, the file revealed.  According to officials, the discrepancy prompted Saxena to mark multiple suggestions while approving the file. 

“An Impact Assessment Study for the quality of laboratory tests done during the last 03 years and payment of bills thereof should be essentially carried out by a Government agency / committee of experts and senior officers within the next three months and the report thereof be submitted to this Secretariat,” according to the file.  

Besides, the L-G also suggested that a system of online registration of patients as well as Aadhar-based / biometric tracking of patients is setup within three months.

Saxena wants quality of lab tests reviewed 

  • L-G stresses on Impact Assessment Study of the quality of laboratory tests done during the last 3 years and payment of bills by a govt agency
  • Online registration as well as Aadhar-based biometric tracking of patients should be set up in three months.
  • Evaluation after six months to ascertain efficacy, quality, and genuineness of tests done by private labs

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