DDA allotted them land at concessional rates

Private hospitals in the Capital continue to evade their responsibility to provide 25 per cent free out-patient department facilities and 10 per cent free in-patient department facilities to patients from the economically weaker section category, a study on “Free Treatment in the Private Sector: Myth or Reality?'' done by a resource group for women and health, Sama, has revealed.

The study, released on Wednesday, also highlights the fact that though 12 “charitable” hospitals in the city were listed for the survey only nine responded to questions and participated in the survey.

“About 40 hospitals in Delhi have been allotted land at concessional rates by the Delhi Development Authority and Land and Development Office of the Government of India and are directed to provide a percentage of free-beds to the poor. The study found that there was no standardised norm that was being followed to identify the ‘poor' and that there was difference in the level of free medical service that was being provided. There were vacant beds in these hospitals which aren't catering to the poor,'' noted the study.

The study also found that many smaller hospitals which had taken the concession on land allotment later merged with larger hospitals and now there was no clarity on the arrangement for the poor patients after this business move. “There is also misuse of the free beds and middlemen were found operating in hospitals trying to make money on the free beds. There is a lack of information on the availability of these free beds. The lack of transparency about the entire system adds to the confusion,'' said the study.

The study has also raised important questions with regards to access to healthcare services, equity, patient's rights and information sharing among other things. “These aspects needs to be linked with concerns for policy and programme in the context of continued policy of the State towards privatisation, public funding for private health sector, etc.,'' it noted.