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Ahmedabad’s public hospital budget for 2023-24 provides no information or accountability

Rupa Chinai, Dr. Nishith Shah, Jay Sheth and Brijesh Chinai, independent members, Chinai Maternity and Sarabhai General Hospitals, Board of Management, Ahmedabad, comment on hospital Budget for 2023-2024:

The Budget for 2023-2024 raises some vital questions about utilization of the huge funds being allocated and the total lack of transparency or accountability on how money is being spent by the VS Board of Management.
Last year’s Budget of Rs.179 crores for 2022-2023 has been increased in the current year to Rs.183 crores. Yet this year’s Budget Report is devoid of any information on the patients who benefitted from these extraordinarily huge allocations.
Take the instance of Chinai Maternity Hospital (Page 5), where between 1.4.21 to 31.4.22 the Budget Report reveals that there was not a single patient of emergency delivery done in the Gynecology Department and not a single case of emergency surgery done in the Paediatrics Department. How is that possible? Medicines allocated for patients is a mere Rs.3 crores 65 lakhs — a figure that is absurdly low given the massive allocations. There are no figures provided for surgeries performed by Orthopedic and several other Departments. This is an extraordinary way to present a Budget, where no information is provided on how public money was utilised and what is the justification for even higher allocations for the forthcoming year!
We notice (Pg. 9) that Rs. 5 lakhs is being earmarked for “Property Tax”. We would like to ask to whom is this property tax being paid and for which properties?
There are several other issues that we took up with the Board in our letter dated 17th January, 2023, in response to the outsourced Audit Report, 2022. These pertain to:
  • Writing off Rs.49 crores by the VS Board without providing any explanation or justification.
  • The lack of any action against those responsible for the Rs.8 crore Provident Fund and Duplicate Receipt Book Scams.
  • Utilization of Rs.16,070,759 for Ayurvedic treatment and medicines poor patients, when as far as we know, no such department exists in VSH.
We have repeatedly stressed since years, that there is an urgent need to ensure that AMC Auditors be required to take final responsibility for auditing of VSH funds that are currently being outsourced to private agencies.
We note with concern that the VS Board has not acknowledged our letter of 17th January, 2023 or cared to reply to our questions.
The hospital administration is requested to provide us complete details of outdoor and indoor patients treated at Chinai Maternity and Sarabhai Hospitals during 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 December.



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