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SHC orders investigation into use of funds by Civil Hospital Hyderabad

SHC orders investigation into use of funds by Civil Hospital Hyderabad

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad circuit bench of the Sindh High Court has directed Hyderabad Commissioner Syed Asif Hyder Shah to conduct a thorough probe into utilisation of funds by the Civil Hospital Hyderabad (CHH) between June 2014 and June 2015.

A division bench comprising Justices Salahuddin Panhwar and Sadiq Hussain Bhatti passed the order on a petition filed by Aamir Lutuf Ali Zardari who accused the CHH management, including its medical superintendent, of stopping him from opening a blood bank on the hospital premises to ‘serve the poor’.

The judges signed the order on Thursday morning, appointing the commissioner as inquiry officer and issuing notices to the Health Secretary Dr Khalid Qureshi, CHH MS Dr Pir Manzoor and other respondents. They were directed to appear in court on Aug 13.

The court ordered the commissioner to probe use of funds by the hospital and pinpoint areas which needed improvement as the “…development (in hospital) remains only on papers”.

It said the commissioner would examine present status of the hospital and basic facilities needed and would then submit his recommendations to the secretary of health.

His report should pinpoint irregularity, if any, and the delinquent ones too as those who were entrusted with patients’ care could and should not be allowed to go unpunished, it warned.

It said: “The secretary, after receiving recommendation, shall comply with them within 15 days. In case, there is any negligence such delinquent officers shall be dealt with in accordance with law”.

The court said the issue brought up in the petition was very serious as the CHH was the only government hospital where patients not only from the division of Hyderabad but also from Mirpurkhas division arrived with a ray of hope to get proper treatment free of cost. The rich got other alternatives which were unavailable to the poor, it said.

It said that provision of stretchers, food and shifting of patients was a duty of the hospital. NGOs or civil society could lend a helping hand but it should not absolve government hospitals of their duty particularly when they were provided huge funds for that specific purpose, said the order.

Thus, the petitioner’s claim that he wanted to shoulder duties of the hospital presented nothing but an alarming situation which could not be left to go unnoticed, it said.

The petitioner said that on the basis of his eight-year experience in running a blood bank he sent an application to the MS requesting for permission to open a blood bank on the CHH premises.

The MS first issued him a no objection certificate on July 11 but after he registered the blood bank, the MS started creating hurdles in his work, he said.

He said the additional medical superintendents on behalf of the MS were now trying to stop him from opening the blood bank. An AMS for blood bank was given million of rupees to build his new office in the CHH and the public money was misused in it, he alleged.

He requested the court to direct provincial chief secretary and the secretary of health to take action against the respondents who were using force against the petitioner and his volunteers to stop them from their work.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2015

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