Following Hindustan Times' series 'Cancer of corruption' (April 19-20), Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has told the state health department to probe the role of officials who were responsible for the empanelment of undeserving hospitals under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Rahat Kosh Scheme (MMPCRKS).
Principal secretary, health, Vini Mahajan confirmed that the inquiry would be conducted as per the CM's directions.
Sources in the department said Mahajan had sent a communication to the director, health services, Punjab, saying that an inquiry should be started to examine the process of empanelment of these hospitals under the scheme.
"We will examine the records and find out how these hospitals got empanelled," said Mahajan.
She added that the inquiry would also ascertain whether the hospitals provided wrong information while seeking empanelment or there was any mala fide intention on the part of officials.
In a two-part series, HT had highlighted that MMPCRKS was not benefiting patients and hospitals had been empanelled despite being ill-equipped to deal with cancer cases.
Subsequently, on the CM's orders, 19 hospitals had been dis-empanelled by the health department in April, including Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana. The department had ordered the shifting of these hospitals' cancer patients to empanelled hospitals within 30 days.
A technical committee constituted under the chairmanship of Dr JS Thakur of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, had recommended removing 11 hospitals from the MMPCRKS panel.
The cancer relief scheme was started in June 2011 for patients who don't have insurance cover or are not government employees. The government extends financial help up to a maximum of Rs. 1.5 lakh each for cancer treatment at 17 (originally 36) empanelled hospitals.