The Delhi government has slapped notices on several top private hospitals for not providing free treatment to the poor.
The Directorate of Health Services sent contempt notices to 10 hospitals on Monday after their quarterly reports showed they were treating less than 3.3% poor patients for free, as against the 10% mandated by law.
“These hospitals have been refusing free treatment to poor patients for a long time,” said chief minister Shiela Dikshit, who ordered the health department to initiate the step on Monday.In March 2007, the Delhi High Court had ruled that all 38 hospitals built on land granted by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) or the Land and Development Office, provide free treatment to the patients from the economically weaker sections. While the out patient department (OPD) was required to treat 25% of its total patients free of cost, 10% beds was required to be reserved for the poor.
“We have not sent notices to hospitals who have failed by small margins,” said AK Walia, Delhi health minister.
“If we do not see change in the next quarter, we will be forced to forward the case to Delhi High Court for contempt proceedings,” the minister said.
A Fortis spokesperson, who refused to be named, said, “We comply with government rules and direction on the treatment of poor patients.”
Dr Rajeev Malhotra, vice president, medical, Rockland Hospital said: “We have never refused free treatment to even a single patient.”
Max officials claimed that they had not received any notice.