LAHORE - Functioning of purpose built Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has been delayed till the end of 2017, thanks to bureaucratic red-tape that deferred procurement of ventilators.

As many as 13 ventilators could not be procured as the grievance committee has directed inviting tenders again, a process that could not be completed during the remaining period of current fiscal year. As such, allocated fund of Rs20 million would lapse that would held procurement committee accountable for the fault that existed somewhere else.

The purpose built 15-bed ICU is otherwise ready to function after completion of block and procurement of all other necessary equipment from beds to cardiac meters at Rs80 million. Out of allocated Rs100 million, Rs20 million are available for purchase of ventilators.

The procurement committee completed the process of short-listing of firms, inviting tenders and giving the purchase order to the lowest bidder, a German firm Drager, about five months back. A local firm M/S Eastern, one of the bidders, lodged a complaint with the grievance committee of Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department, alleging its wrong disqualification, violation of PEPRA rules and lack of transparency and fairness in the bidding process. The committee took five long months to decide the matter that involve functioning of ICU of an important tertiary care health facility in the provincial metropolis.

“Such attitude of the committee members is really irritating. Instead of carrying out proceedings on fast track basis, they took such a long time to decide the matter,” said a senior doctor at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

“None of the committee members has put question mark on the already completed bidding process. They just directed re-tendering despite knowing that such a long exercise could not be carried out in just over one month time period.

“In addition to that, the procurement committee will be held accountable for the lapse of funds allocated for ventilators, a mistake they have never committed,” he added.

The firm that has lodged the complaint of violation of PEPRA rules and lack of transparency in the bidding process is already facing the charges of belated delay in supplying cardiac meters to Mayo Hospital, he told The Nation and informed that the SH&ME secretary is probing delay in supply of cardiac meters.

“Why complaint of the same firm has been entertained and the issue dragged for such a long period is a big question,” he highlighted.

“At least 4-5 months will be needed to complete the process of inviting tenders and awarding contract after fresh allocation in next budget. As such functioning of ICU is delayed till the end of 2017,” the doctor shared.