Over 150 ex-servicemen to guard Safdarjung Hospital

March 4th, 2008 - 10:50 am ICT by admin  

By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Retired armed forces personnel will soon patrol the corridors and grounds of Safdarjung Hospital that was recently fined Rs.550,000 for the rape of a women in its premises and has been witnessing repeated instances of its doctors being beaten up by patients’ relatives. “The law and order situation in the hospital’s premises is a concern for the government, hospital administration and patients as well. The hospital has decided to hire over 150 retired military and paramilitary personnel for the purpose,” a doctor associated with the hospital’s administration told IANS.

He said the hospital has already invited applications from private security firms to provide 153 ex-servicemen for guarding both the hospital and its affiliated Mahavir Vardhaman Medical College.

Last month, the Delhi High Court had asked Safdarjung Hospital to pay Rs.550,000 as compensation to a woman who was raped in a hospital toilet in 2005.

Justice S. Ravinder Bhatt faulted the hospital administration for the lack of security in the premises and asked it to pay the compensation amount within six weeks.

The application inviting interested parties to provide security specifies that the hospital will require 284 security guards and 11 supervisors.

“The agency shall provide 20 percent ex-servicemen security guards (retired from army, navy, air force). The agency shall provide 30 percent ex-paramilitary personnel (retired from Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force and Assam Rifles),” the application notification said.

It further said: “The agency shall provide 100 percent ex-servicemen supervisors and they should be of the level of NCO (non-commissioned officers) in army, navy, air force. They should not be above the age of 55 years.”

The administration said it would recruit civilians for the remaining posts. Currently, around 140 civilian security guards are manning the hospital.

Authorities said the administration has already received applications from some interested parties. The process of receiving applications will continue till March 14.

“The contract would be awarded to two eligible parties. But the security agency concerned should be Delhi-based,” the doctor said.

Last year, resident doctors and interns of the hospital staged protests against the lack of proper security. They have struck work on more than one occasion after relatives of some aggrieved patients thrashed them.

Manish, president of the Resident Doctors Association of Safdarjung Hospital, had told IANS: “If a patient dies due to genuine reasons, even then relatives think that it’s the fault of doctors. Since junior doctors are mostly on night duty, they face the maximum problem.”

“We are also human beings and need proper security as well. It’s not fair to beat up a doctor who is serving you at night,” he said.

Safdarjung Hospital was founded during World War II in 1942 as a base hospital for the allied forces. It was taken over by the Indian government in 1954 and placed under the health ministry.

In 1942, the hospital had only 204 beds, which has now increased to 1,530. The institute provides medical care to over 4,000 people from across the country every day through its outpatient departments.

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