CHIANG RAI – Dr Kriangsak Watcharanukulkiat President of the Rural Doctors Society has reported he has found irregularities in the Public Health Ministry’s Bt147-million (S$6.3 million) procurement of a portable medical device used to measure blood-glucose levels.
The society found that the ministry’s Department of Health Service Support told provincial public health offices to purchase the portable medical devices, which will be used by health volunteers nationwide to screen people with diabetes.
The ministry instructed 7,256 sub-districts to buy 81,685 sets of the equipment, at a total cost of Bt147 million. Each device cost Bt1,800.
The society also questioned the cost of test strips to be used to read the blood-glucose measurement result from the device.
The median price to purchase this test strip was about Bt11 but the market price was Bt5 to Bt11.
Society president Dr Kriangsak Watcharanukulkiat, who raised the allegation, said most hospitals no longer use the devices because it required them to also buy the test
strip to read the result and was an additional financial burden for healthcare units.
With the ministry’s instruction issued on February 27 this year, some provincial public health offices had already purchased the equipment, he said.
He also questioned the Public Health Ministry’s policy to allow health volunteers to use the device, when they were not allowed to draw people’s blood for the test.
“We are worried that this purchasing and procurement will repeat the previous case of irregularities in medical device procurement under the Thai Khem Kaeng project,” he said.
In related news, some 500 medical workers including doctors, dentists, nurses and the network of people living with HIV will today (April 24) rally outside the Public Health Ministry against Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong over his policy to pay an additional allowance for workers based on the performance principle (P4P) or the amount of work they do. They said it would reduce the allowance for them, compared to the previous allowance payment method based on their location and years of work.
To date, 155 rural doctors have resigned from state hospitals to work at private hospitals or pursue further education, because they were not happy with the new payment system.
“We are ready to negotiate with the ministry, but Pradit himself must join the negotiation and revoke the recent Cabinet resolution that approved the current allowance,” Kriangsak said.