The Delhi Government plans to cancel the land lease of private hospitals that have been brazenly breaching the Delhi High Court directive to provide free treatment to the “economically weak” patients.
“We are waiting for the second quarterly report from the government-appointed committee to be filed. Once that happens, we will identify errant hospitals and cancel their land lease. We have been gathering data over the last one year and have been issuing repeated warnings, but nothing seems to work,” said Delhi Health Minister Yoganand Shastri. “The problem is that most hospitals have become money making machines with no regard for human values,” he adds.
In March 2007, the Delhi High Court had directed that all 36 hospitals that were built on lands granted by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) or the Land and Development Office (LNDO) must provide free treatment to poor patients.
While the Out Patient Department (OPD) was required to treat 25 per cent of its total patients free, 10 per cent of the total number of beds was required to be reserved for the poor.
The data apart, cases like that of Sheela Gupta (whose plight was highlighted by Hindustan Times in a report on Tuesday) are not very uncommon in the Capital. Some time ago, a man was spotted on the streets of Delhi with a board hanging from his neck that said: Please buy my son.
I need money for my daughter’s treatment.” Babita Rajak, who needed mitral valve replacement, was then treated at Max Devki Devi after the case was highlighted in the media.
In another recent case, Mata Chanandevi Hospital in Pitampura stopped treatment of a 10-year-old boy who had a ruptured spleen because of lack of money. Deepak, the son of a domestic help, was injured in an accident and the owner of the car that had hit him had provided Rs 50,000 for his treatment.
As soon as the money was over, the hospital wanted to discharge him. They were forced to take him back after HT highlighted the case and a PIL was filed against them.
Similarly, Balaji Action Institute turned away the blood cancer patient Sheela Gupta, a Burari resident, despite being referred by the MCD-run Hindu Rao Hospitalm, which does not have a cancer department. While the Balaji offered to provide her a bed, they refused to bear the cost of her treatment saying they had a stay order from a higher court on the directive.