This was informed to the High Court in a case of free treatment to a minor

Delhi is the highest spender on public health in the country, the Delhi Government has claimed before the Delhi High Court. The assertion was been made by its Directorate of Health and Family Welfare during the hearing of a petition about free treatment to a minor.

The government said it is spending four times on health compared to other States; that it has financial assistance schemes for patients from economically weaker section (EWS) of society and has already disbursed approximately Rs.7.15 crore under one of its schemes which came into effect in the year 2011.

Delhi, it said, has also been a pioneer in formulating the drug policy and keeps revising the Essential Medicine List in consultation with various specialistsand stakeholders which makes it “dynamic” and after last revision in 2013, 97 medicines/ molecules were added to it taking the total number of essential medicines to 406.

Essential medicines are those drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population and should be available at all times at affordable prices.

At present there are five schemes funded by the State which includes Delhi Arogya Kosh. The scheme came into effect in 2011 to provide financial assistance of up to Rs.5 lakh for treatment in government hospitals and certain specific diseases in notified private hospitals to those who have been bona fide residents of Delhi for over three years with annual income under Rs.3 lakh.

Till date, 839 patients have benefitted from this scheme with disbursal of Rs.7.15 crore and in 2013-14, Rs.4.9 crore has already been disbursed.

In 2013-14, Rs.10.5 lakh was disbursed as assistance to 13 beneficiaries under another scheme named Delhi Arogya Nidhi with a ceiling of Rs.1.5 lakh to those living below poverty line for treatment in government hospitals.

Two other schemes are Delhi Kalyan Samiti which was started in 1995 and the L-G/ Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Besides the facilities for EWS patients at government hospitals, in pursuance of a 2007 High Court order and the Supreme Court’s order of 2011, 45 identified private hospitals have been directed to provide 10 per cent In Patient Department (IPD) and 25 per cent Out Patient Department (OPD) facilities to eligible EWS patients completely free of any charges.

In 2013, approximately 11 lakh EWS patients availed free treatment in these identified private hospitals.

A patient residing anywhere in the country and whose family monthly income is less than minimum wages of an unskilled worker (at present Rs.8,086 per month) is eligible for availing free treatment at these hospitals, the Government told the court.

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