CM Uddhav Thackeray steps in to sort the Wadia hospital issue

CM Uddhav Thackeray steps in to sort the Wadia hospital issue

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Vs Wadia Hospital has been in the headlines for the last few days. Today, (January 15, Wednesday), the state government announced that they will be paying a sun to the tunes of Rs 24 crore to the Wadia Hospital. The state government also directed BMC to release its share of Rs 22 crore. With the infusion of these funds the Wadia maternity and children’s hospitals in Parel will be able to resume its function.

Furthermore, Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, met with the hospital management, state’s health and other top ministers, the major and other top bureaucrats. Post this meeting he has ordered an investigation into allegations of irregularities and violation of agreement terms at the hospitals. The panel will most likely be headed by Chief Secretary will be investigating this matter. It is being alleged that the hospital staff has inflated its expenses, doled out dual salaries to some employees and over hired. The investigating panels will be looking into all these and other regulatory concerns raised.

It is being said that BMC and state grants of over Rs 137 crore were due and the speculations were rife that the hospitals will have to be shut down.

How the story unfolded?

On Saturday, Parel's Wadia Hospital stopped admitting patients due to lack of funds and blamed the civic body for the same. The hospital even hung out notices citing non-payment from BMC to be reason why they were unable to take in more patients in cardiology, neurology, nephrology, orthopaedic and pathology departments as they could no longer pay vendors.

A day later, BMC responded by saying that the pending dues of the last quarter will be cleared by next week.

The chairperson of the civic health committee, Amey Ghole clarified that the civic body has paid the hospital till September 2019 and assured that BMC will now pay for the October-December quarter as well, but it will deduct 10 per cent of dues since the hospital has failed to comply by the rules.

Alongside, Lal Bavta General Kamgaar Union, the union for employees and nurses of Wadia Hospital, had announced a protest from January 13 to 15 for payment of salaries and pension.

BMC and Wadia Hospital – the back story

In 2010, Wadia Hospital had entered in a contract with BMC and state government to run the units, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Nawrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital. As per the contract, BMC is supposed to pay for 75 per cent of the operational cost of Bai Jerbai Wadia hospital, and also sharing the operational cost of the maternity hospital with the state government.

According to Ghole, there were various reasons why the dues were withheld since October 2019. He said that it was required for the KEM Hospital Dean and Accounts Officer to be part of the hospital’s managing committee which was yet to happen. He added that the scrutiny of accounts showed that close to 18 employees had been receiving double salaries and a matter had to be looked into. He also alleged that the hospital was not using the scheduled medicines that the BMC advised.

These claims have been refuted by Dr Minnie Bodhanawala, Medical Director, Wadia Hospital. She said that they had complied with all terms and conditions as per the government resolution. She added that a PIL has been filed in court and the matter was under judicial consideration.