Supreme Court directs private hospitals to give priority in treatment to elderly amid pandemic

Senior citizens wait to receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, during the second phase of a countrywide inoculation drive, at a government hospital in Bikaner, Rajasthan on March 4, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court has directed that private hospitals should give priority to senior citizens in admission.

On August 4 last, the court declared that government hospitals should give priority to elderly people as they are vulnerable to COVID-19 virus.

On Thursday, senior advocate and former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar urged a Bench led by Ashok Bhushan to extend the August 4 order to private hospitals too. The court agreed with Mr. Kumar, saying private hospitals catered to most of the population in the country.

“We direct that priority with reference to admission contemplated in order dated August4 2020 to the elderly people should also be given in private hospitals,” the court ordered.

Mr. Kumar had approached the court, during the peak of the pandemic period, highlighting the need for providing care, support and priority medical treatment for senior citizens, especially those who live alone during the pandemic.

Directive to States

On August 4, the court ordered the States to respond promptly to the needs of senior citizens and ensure they do not suffer financially during COVID-19. It also directed that the elderly should get their pension on time.

“All old-age people who are eligible for pension should be regularly paid pension and those identified older people should be provided necessary medicines, masks, sanitisers and other essential goods by respective States. Further, as and when any individual request is made, the same shall be attended to by the administration with all promptness,” the court had ordered.

Mr. Kumar drew attention to how many elderly persons were battling loneliness and depression. The lockdown and social isolation of past months had left many in the grip of anxiety.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:41:13 PM |

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