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Private hospital, clinic owners list family & friends as healthcare workers to get free jab

Dr Ashish Bhansali, owner of Bhansali Super Speciality hospital in Achalpur, has listed 19 members of his family and two friends as healthcare workers employed in his hospital. All of them have received their first shot in the sub-district hospital.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Amravati |
Updated: February 5, 2021 7:49:52 am
Private hospital, clinic owners list family & friends as healthcare workers to get free jabAt Achalpur sub-district hospital in Amravati on Thursday. (Photo: Tabassum Barnagarwala)

The Achalpur sub-district hospital in Amravati has raised concerns that private hospitals, taking advantage of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, are including names of family members and friends in the list of healthcare workers to get a free shot.

Owners of a private hospital and a clinic are under scanner in Achalpur for getting their family and friends vaccinated in this manner. As per government guidelines, only healthcare workers from public and private sectors and frontline workers are allowed to get free vaccination. Similar cases have been reported from Chennai and Goa as well.

Dr Ashish Bhansali, owner of Bhansali Super Speciality hospital in Achalpur, has listed 19 members of his family and two friends as healthcare workers employed in his hospital. All of them have received their first shot in the sub-district hospital.

Businessman Manish Agrawal, Bhansali’s friend who got vaccinated along with his wife, were listed as social workers attached with the hospital.

Officials of the sub-district hospital came to know about this after Agrawal told a few local residents that he has got vaccinated. They went on to draw up a list and realised that 19 people from Bhansali’s family, including his mother Neelima Bhansali, have been vaccinated.

When contacted, Bhansali said, “I thought close contacts of healthcare workers can be listed for vaccination. So, I listed all my family members.”

A dental clinic owned by Dr Deepak Verma in Achalpur is also under scanner for listing Amit Deshmukh, its sales and purchase head among the recipients, and getting him vaccinated.

When contacted, Verma said that while his wife and daughter are doctors, Deshmukh purchased supplies for the clinic from Amravati and regularly travelled during the pandemic. “That is why I listed him,” he added.

Taluka officials have decided to not give a second dose to these recipients until the inquiry is over.

Dr Sonia Tiwari, medical officer in Achalpur vaccination centre, said it is difficult to do a background check of all those who come for shots.

Data entry operator Vinay Pise said private hospitals have submitted a list of their healthcare workers, which he had uploaded on the Co-WIN portal. “There is no way of knowing who is a health worker and who isn’t. I just uploaded all names,” he added.

Sub-district hospital superintendent Dr Surendra Dole said they have now started demanding hospital identity proof from vaccine recipients, along with an undertaking from the hospital in charge that the worker is employed there.

“We have vaccinated over 800 people in Achalpur. Of them, over 20 are suspected to be non-medicos. We believe this is rampantly happening everywhere,” he added.

In Osmanabad, District Health Officer Dr H V Wadgave said that they have come across two recipients, both parents of a doctor, who were from non-medical background but registered as administrators in a hospital. “When private hospitals submit a list of health workers, we ask for no proof. There is no provision for us to do a background check as per government norms,” he added.

Amravati civil surgeon Dr Shyamsunder Nikam said they are deliberating whether to file police complaints against the in charges of such hospitals. “In all vaccination centres, we have instructed workers to be vigilant,” he added.

Dr Archana Patil, Director (Family Welfare), Directorate of Health Services, said such cases will be difficult to trace across the state unless each recipient is probed. “We have not officially received any complaint. When private hospitals were asked to submit a list of healthcare workers, it was expected that they will only give the names of their employees.”

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