Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 07:00 [IST]
Last Update: Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 01:30 [IST]
GANGTOK,: The Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India has recorded a shortage of essential equipment in the new STNM Hospital and at the same time, notes that a large number of costly equipment were lying idle in the State’s largest public hospital.
The CAG findings have been mentioned in the performance audit of select district hospitals in Sikkim for the year ended March 2019.
The new STNM Hospital has 1,000 beds and operational since January 14, 2019.
Non-availability of medical equipment in different departments of the new STNM Hospital ranged from 58% (Labour and Neo-natal equipment) to 100% (Eclampsia Room), states the report. Similarly, essential equipment (42%) was not available (Labour, Neo-natal equipment).
In absence of essential equipment, patients had to be referred to private hospital (CRH Tadong) or outside the State for medical treatment, said the CAG.
While a number of essential equipment as compared to the IPHS norms for a 500-bedded hospital was not available in the 1000-bedded hospital, a large number of other equipment procured by the department were idling in disuse, the CAG report mentions.
A joint physical inspection (March 2020) of the hospital revealed that a number of hospital equipment was either idling in disuse, non-functional for want of repair or lying unused due to want of technical personnel to operate them, etc. The CAG notes that these were costly equipment lying idle.
“The idling of equipment in the hospital indicated unplanned and excessive procurement without framing plan for their utilisation. The hospital had no plan and strategy for using the procured equipment. The chances of warranty/guarantee of the equipment expiring before use cannot be ruled out. Release of payment to the suppliers/contractors without installation and test-run of these equipment was not only irregular but indicated also lack of internal control in the hospital,” said the CAG.
While accepting audit observations, the new STNM Hospital stated (May 2020) that most of the equipment were idle due to non-availability of surgeons and required technical personnel and also due to want of repairs. Some equipment were kept as standby for future use.
The CAG has recommended that proper utilisation of equipment may be ensured with requisite manpower for smooth delivery of healthcare services. Regular maintenance of equipment especially in the new STNM Hospital may be ensured through annual maintenance contracts so as to reduce the breakdown time of critical equipment for diagnosis and improve the quality of health care, recommended the CAG.