Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Wednesday said seven doctors and 19 staffers posted at seven Mohalla Clinics have been removed from service after it was found that they attempted to manipulate the electronic attendance system.
Addressing a press conference, he said there were complaints about doctors coming in late to Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics. “These doctors and staff members were found to have tampered with the biometric system by marking their attendance either significantly late or in a fraudulent manner at around 8 AM or nearby, causing inconvenience to the people,” he said. “The staff (at mohalla clinics) are supposed to be available from 8 am to 2 pm. We got the attendance records checked ... It was found that the electronic attendance system was being manipulated,” Bharadwaj told reporters.
The Delhi minister said some of the staff would come late but the system “showed” that they had arrived by 8 am.
“Irregularities were found (in our probe) at seven Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics — five in the Southwest district, one in the Northeast district and another in Shahdara district. In all, 26 staffers, including seven doctors, have been de-empanelled,” he said.
“Based on the irregularities found in the biometric system during the investigation, action has been taken against these doctors and staff members. Any negligence in healthcare facilities provided to the people of Delhi will not be tolerated,” he added.
Mohalla clinics are one of the flagship initiatives of the Arvind Kejriwal government to boost the primary health care system in Delhi. A typical mohalla clinic has a doctor, a midwife-cum-nurse and other ancillary staff, and an array of diagnostic services and essential medicines are provided free of cost to patients who come there. A total 533 Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics are functional in Delhi.
Bharadwaj said the irregularities were noticed after discrepancies or oddities were found in images submitted such as change in clothing on the same day or a photo of a photograph being found in scanned images.
Besides the seven doctors, the remaining staff who were removed include six pharmacists, six clinic assistants and seven multi-tasking staff, he told reporters.
The Delhi minister said the Kejriwal government and the health department is “very serious” on the matter that staff deployed at such clinics discharge their duties responsibly and warned of action if any laxity is found.
Asked how such tampering with the system might have happened, he said technological upgrade is needed to keep pace with people who may try to bypass the system, adding, “We keep upgrading our technology.”
Asked about the dengue situation in Delhi, Bharadwaj on Wednesday said the number of mosquito-breeding sites in the national capital has plateaued and announced that the authorities have been directed to run a city-wide awareness campaign.
“Last week, we held a meeting with officials of the MCD’s (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) health department. During that meeting, MCD (officials) shared data with us and it shows that the number of mosquito-breeding sites has reached a plateau. I have directed the health department and the chief secretary to run a wide campaign for dengue awareness as we approach peak season. The campaign has not been run this time,” he added. The national capital recorded 348 dengue cases till August 5, according to an MCD report released on August 7. The MCD has not released reports on dengue and other vector-borne diseases for the past several weeks even as a senior civic official last week claimed that it is “doing its regular job” to contain their spread and the “situation is under control”.The MCD usually releases weekly reports on cases of vector-borne diseases every Monday.