Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics, which provide free primary healthcare services to the poor, are under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly prescribing fake tests to patients. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Saxena, has ordered a CBI probe into the matter after receiving complaints from several sources.
How the scam was exposed
The scam came to light when a whistleblower, who worked as a lab technician at one of the Mohalla Clinics, approached the LG with evidence of the malpractice. The whistleblower claimed that he was instructed by the clinic staff to collect blood samples from patients and send them to a private laboratory, which would then issue fake reports without conducting any tests. The patients were then charged for the tests, which ranged from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000, depending on the type of test.
The whistleblower also alleged that the clinic staff received commissions from the private laboratory for every fake test they prescribed. He said that he had collected more than 1,000 blood samples from patients in the past six months and sent them to the laboratory, which issued fake reports for all of them. He said that he decided to expose the scam after he realized that he was putting the lives of the patients at risk.
The role of the Central Procurement Agency
The LG also found out that the Mohalla Clinics were supplied with substandard drugs by the Central Procurement Agency (CPA) under the Delhi Health Services (DHS). These drugs, procured by the CPA, were supplied to Delhi government hospitals and may also have been supplied to the Mohalla Clinics, the LG said in his note.
The LG said that he had received complaints from several doctors and pharmacists about the poor quality of the drugs supplied by the CPA. He said that some of the drugs were expired, damaged, or mislabelled. He said that he had ordered an inquiry into the functioning of the CPA and asked the DHS to submit a report on the matter.
The reaction of the Delhi government
The Delhi government, which runs the Mohalla Clinics, has denied the allegations of fake tests and substandard drugs. The Health Minister of Delhi, Satyendra Jain, said that the Mohalla Clinics were providing quality healthcare services to the people and that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. He said that the LG was trying to malign the image of the Mohalla Clinics, which had received praise from national and international agencies.
Jain said that the Mohalla Clinics had conducted more than 10 lakh tests in the past three years and that none of them were fake. He said that the Mohalla Clinics had a transparent system of monitoring and auditing the tests and the drugs. He said that the CBI probe was a political vendetta against the Delhi government and that he was ready to face any inquiry.
The impact of the scam on the patients
The scam has raised serious questions about the quality and safety of the healthcare services provided by the Mohalla Clinics, which cater to the needs of the poor and the marginalized sections of the society. The patients, who trusted the Mohalla Clinics for their health issues, are now feeling cheated and betrayed. They are also worried about the possible consequences of the fake tests and the substandard drugs on their health.
Some of the patients, who had undergone the fake tests, said that they had paid money for the tests, which they could have used for other purposes. They said that they had not received any benefit from the tests, which were supposed to diagnose their health problems. They said that they felt duped and exploited by the Mohalla Clinics, which they had considered as a boon.