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Private firms to buy drugs for Delhi govt hospitals.

FIR after govt rap THE DELHI government could entrust private agencies with the purchase of medicines and medical equipment for 37 of its hospitals, health officials have said.

It is one of the several steps the Sheila Dikshit government may take to partly privatise medical health services in the Capital.

Officials are holding talks with two US companies. They could enter a contract for up to 10 years, under the public- private partnership ( PPP) programme.

According to health department records, the 37 hospitals attend to nearly 17.5 million patients a year. The hospitals also serve patients from the NCR region. The purchase of medicines and equipment for these hospitals is under the control of the Central Procurement Agency ( CPA).

J. P. Singh, the principal secretary, health, said there were reports about discrepancy in purchases. " The patients are losing faith in government hospitals ( following) reports of fake drugs and substandard equipment ( being used at) the hospitals. To minimise such events, the government is mulling the new initiative over," Singh said.

Delhi health ministry officials met the two private agencies, sources said. A final meeting is likely to be held soon.

After a contract is signed with a private agency, the hospital cannot purchase medicines or medical equipment, a health official said. They will be compelled to place a request to the agency through the CPA to get medicines or equipment.

The CPA will also be responsible for quality control.

The state government has already outsourced a 650- bed hospital in Tahirpur and a 300- bed hospital in Janakpuri to the private players.

The officials said the initiative was mooted after more than two dozen private hospitals failed to provide free care for the poor. These hospitals had been allotted Delhi Development Authority lands at subsidised rates on condition that they would provide the free care.

They have not complied with a high court order either.

The government, too, is unable to ensure free treatment to the poor in these hospitals.

In 2008, the Capital's emergency services were also sought to be privatised, starting with the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services ( CATS), adding about 150 ambulances to CATS' fleet of about 35.

neetu. chandra@ mailtoday. in

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 27, 2010
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