Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has ordered a comprehensive probe into the functioning of the Kidwai Institute of Oncology (KMIO) — popularly known as Kidwai Hospital — in Bengaluru.
South First had on 21 August reported that the hospital, despite promises, denied critical paediatric bone marrow transplants (BMT) to patients, leaving families — specifically the poor — helpless and shattered.
The chief minister has also directed to set up a probe panel, which should submit its report in two weeks.
The hospital has been referring patients to expensive private institutions despite the hospital boasting of a BMT unit. There were also complaints of inadequate treatment, irregularities in procurement tenders, and medicines being sourced without transparency.
The Karnataka government’s latest order is a significant move towards ensuring transparency and accountability in healthcare.
Following South First‘s report, the Department of Medical Education (DME) held a meeting with the director of the hospital, V Lokesh.
Tender conditions take a back seat
South First also reported on the discrepancies in the Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scan pricing. The scan, intended to be conducted at ₹7,200 per case with a discount of ₹400 for every 25 cases, is currently being billed at ₹9,200.
It has also been alleged that a pre-dated work order had been issued for the development, operation, maintenance, and management of PET-CT under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement at the Kidwai Institute. The order, allegedly, was issued by the director, Lokesh, two months before he assumed charge.
According to sources, the chief minister was also informed of the absence of a mandatory MBBS doctor, certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, with three years of experience as per the tender conditions, for the PET-CT scan unit.
Also, the unit does not even have registered nurses with six months of experience as per the tender conditions. The cash bills are handled directly by the vendor, which is against the law.
A senior doctor who recently submitted a memorandum to the chief minister said the institute administration has been paving the way for GST evasion.
Call for corrective measures
Following complaints, the chief minister ordered the setting up of a team of senior officials, including IAS officers, from the Departments of Cooperation and Finance. The team would probe the alleged irregularities, procurement concerns, and healthcare delivery standards at Kidwai Hospital.
Siddaramaiah also set a deadline of two weeks to investigate the matter and submit a report.
“The initiation of an inquiry by the Honorable chief minister marks the initial stride towards progress. One can only hope for an impartial investigation, and that the chief minister will also focus on implementing reforms at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology,” the senior doctor told South First.
“As a doctor with this institution, witnessing the current state of affairs is disheartening. It calls for urgent corrective measures,” he added.