Thursday December 02, 2021

NESPAK conducted audit of Expo Centre Field Hospital: Dr Yasmin Rashid

May 15, 2020

LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Thursday said the Home Isolation Policy has been formulated and the government will allow home quarantine after assessment of the isolation place.

Addressing a press conference at 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam here, the health minister said this was the third day of softening of restrictions in lockdown. She reminded people that the coronavirus threat has not decreased and they must follow the SOPs devised by the government.

Special Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Ajmal Bhatti, Special Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Nadir Chatha, CEO Mayo Hospital, Expo Centre Corona Hospital Professor Asad Aslam and MS Mayo Hospital Tahir Khalil were present.

The minister said the number of confirmed patients in Punjab is 13,561 with 223 deaths, whereas 4,636 patients have recovered and 37 are critically ill. In the last one day, 5,365 tests have been conducted taking the total number of tests to 147,567 so far in public and private labs in Punjab. “We are appealing to people to observe social distancing and follow precautionary measures. People are requested not to leave their homes unnecessarily and especially look after the elders. The government alone cannot control the spread of the disease unless people follow the precautionary measures. If, God forbid, the pandemic spreads widely, the number of critically ill patients will increase, creating insurmountable problems for the government.”

The minister said best possible treatment is provided to patients in dedicated facilities for corona. We are greatly concerned about the situation and the government has increased the testing capacity manifold. “A demand for the forensic audit of the Expo Centre Field Hospital was raised by some sections in media including an anchor, so I have decided to put in front of everyone the details of resources at the hospital. The Expo Center Field Hospital was set up in a very short span of time, and its estimates are always kept higher than the actual cost. Whenever, the plan for a project is made, all amounts are included in estimates including the operation costs,” she said.

“Initially, we reserved three government hospitals for corona patients Mayo Hospital, PKLI and Expo Centre Field Hospital. The Health Department has given away a cheque amounting to only Rs 7 crore to the district administration and its details, as shared by the Deputy Commissioner’s Office are presented here. According to their documents, the district administration has spent only Rs 1 crore on the partition whereas the estimated cost was kept at Rs 4.5 crore. The procurement of essentials was made at Rs 1 crore, far below the estimates. Even the support from the philanthropists has been documented for transparency. All government projects including those under emergency measures are always scrutinized by third party auditors and an audit led by Resident Engineer NESPAK Brig Saeed Malik has already been conducted. I request all not to spread rumours and stop misleading public,” she said.

Dr Yasmin said: “It is deplorable that the district administration worked day and night to set up this field hospital in a very short time of nine days and people are trying to discourage the team including doctors and the staff by false news. The total payment made so far is only Rs 2 crore. A total of 490 patients were admitted to the hospital out of whom 275 have recovered and returned homes.”

The minister said: “so far Rs 1.5 billion have been issued to the hospitals of the Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education and Rs 6.5 billion to the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department. The Mayo Hospital has been paid Rs 10 crore which also shares costs for the Expo Centre Field Hospital. Besides, PKLI, Nishter Hospital Multan and Rawalpindi Institute of Urology have been given Rs 10 crore each. Rs 96 crore have been distributed to all hospitals for procurement of medicines and protective equipment. An amount of Rs 88 crore has been given to Tertiary Care Hospitals for their routine expenditure. Some three weeks ago, the Mayo Hospital staff was serving in the Expo Centre Field Hospital. Now we have hired new staff which include 268 personnel in Lahore, 69 in Rawalpindi, 21 in Gujrat, 8 in Sargodha and 10 in Multan as around 1000 people were interviewed. This staff will now be paid. I will also like to mention that the Expo Centre Field Hospital is looked after by senior doctors and not by sweepers and support staff.”

“All papers and documents are available for anyone who wants detailed information about the expense. Patients with mild symptoms are kept at the Expo Centre and those requiring serious care are then shifted to Mayo Hospital or PKLI. The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital has also offered us ventilators.”

The minister said the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has spent Rs 81 crore so far, which include expense on setting up of BSL 3 labs, PPE, PCR kits, trainings, health education and awareness and procurement of other items. “Overall, we have spent Rs 1.7 billion on both the departments and the details would be submitted to the Punjab Assembly very soon.”

Responding to queries, she said the government believes in transparency in spending every penny of public money on the public welfare. Any irregularity found will be thoroughly investigated if we receive a complaint.

Later, CEO Mayo Hospital Professor Asad Aslam said the reason behind protest by patients recently at Expo Centre was not lack of facilities, but the demand by many mild/asymptomatic patients to allow them to go to their districts, which has been allowed now after undergoing necessary procedures.