Forty-three private hospitals in the Capital have been directed to “proactively ensure that the quantum of free treatment as directed by the courts [10 per cent indoor patients and 25 per cent of the total outdoor patients]” is provided to patients from the economically weaker sections without any qualification or reservation.

Issuing a warning, Delhi Health Minister A. K. Walia on Saturday said: “If these hospitals are found wanting in implementing the legal provisions with regard to free treatment to poor patients, we will take firm action against them.”

Delivering the keynote address at a workshop organised at Delhi Secretariat to strengthen free medical care to the economically weaker sections in private hospitals, he added: “We want to ensure 100 per cent implementation of the court directions enabling poor patients to get medical facilities in some of the leading hospitals including — Dharamshila, Escorts, Max Saket, Fortis Vasant Kunj, Primus, Rockland, VIMHANS, G.M. Modi and Jessa Ram Hospitals. Also non-complying hospitals have been issued notices to explain why proceedings of contempt of court should not be initiated against them.”

At the meeting, the Health Minister noted that the department was also starting an SMS service by which the general public can easily know the availability of free beds in each of the identified private hospitals along with the available specialties there.

Stating that the network of ambulance services of Delhi Government will soon be linked up with transportation services to the patients being admitted or need to be admitted in private hospitals,

Dr. Walia said: “The city needs a 24X7 phone services and help-desk in private hospitals so that poor patients are not required to run here and there and receive all information and admission services at one point, this is something that the department is taking up on a priority basis.”

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