‘Only six Delhi hospitals provide free treatment to poor’

December 22nd, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Only six of the nearly 40 hospitals in the Indian capital provide free treatment to poor patients, a Delhi government affidavit to the city high court has revealed.Filing the affidavit, the government said between July and September this year, out of 37 hospitals, only six abided by the court’s direction of giving free treatment to poor patients - a pre-condition for getting land at subsidized rates.

These are Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, Bhagwati Hospital, Bimal Devi, Jeevan Anmol, National Chest Institute and Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre.

The affidavit also states that 16 hospitals in the capital did not provide free treatment to any poor patient at all. These include Vimhans, Sir Ganga Ram, Primus Ortho and Spine, National Heart Institute, Max Balaji and Escorts Heart and Research Institute.

Three hospitals, namely Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, Moolchand and St.Stephens, denied free treatment to the poor stating they didn’t fall under the ambit of the court’s direction.

However, 11 hospitals in the capital provided treatment to poor patients partially.

The court will hear the matter again Jan 7 next year.

The court’s direction in 2006 came after a public interest petition was filed by Social Jurist, an NGO seeking action against hospitals for charging poor patients. The court had then made it clear that all private hospitals that were granted public land at cheaper rates here will have to provide free treatment to poor patients.

“Ten percent of the treatment capacity in the Indoor Patient Department (IPD) and 25 percent in the OPD would be reserved for poor patients,” the court had ruled.

“Any private hospital not complying with the high court directions will face serious consequences,” the bench had warned.

“Every person who has no income or has income below Rs.5,000 per month shall be treated under this category until a committee constituted by the court takes a final view on the fixation of the criterion of the minimum income for receiving benefits under this scheme,” the ruling had said.

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