Despite court order, hospitals still not treating poor patients: PAC

There is significant shortfall in treatment of patients belonging to the economically weaker sections in the city hospitals despite a Delhi High Court order prescribing 25 per cent out-patient department beds and 10 per cent in-patient department beds to them, according to a Public Accounts Committee report tabled in Parliament on Friday.

“In the absence of the treatment of the requisite number of EWS patients, the implicit subsidy provided by the State Government through allotment of land at highly concessional rates appeared unjustified,” noted the report.

Stating that there may be serious shortfall in the actual benefit of the programme reaching the poor, the PAC has sought details about allotment of land and the agreement for giving free treatment to the poor.

For its part, the State Health Ministry noted that all private hospitals to whom land has been allotted at concessional rates have been directed to comply with the directions of the High Court to provide free treatment for a specifies percentage of patients from the EWS category.

Asked about the specific monitoring mechanism to ensure that hospitals adhered to the terms and conditions upon which they were allotted land at highly concessional rate, the PAC was told that a special committee headed by the Principal Secretary (Health) had been constituted.

The PAC also asked the Health Ministry about action taken on defaulting hospitals.

Giving a detailed reply to the query, the Health Ministry noted: “VIMHANS has been inspected from time to time and the last inspection found large number of misuse and unauthorised constructions. The premises of Moolchand Hospital were re-entered on May 2005 as several breaches were noticed. However, re-entry has been quashed by the High Court upon removal/regularisation of breaches by the local body. As regards compliance of free treatment, the hospital approached the Delhi High Court praying for quashing of direction issued by the Health Ministry. Several breaches were also noticed at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital which the hospital claims have now been covered. Inspection of St. Stephen's Hospital also indicated several lapses, however, as the completion plans is not made available to this office it is not feasible to ascertain the exact extent of breaches.”