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Panel gives patients RTI

All hospitals, nursing homes and health centres in Delhi will now have to hand over copies of treatment records, including proof of competence of the doctor.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 01:41 IST

All hospitals, nursing homes and health centres in Delhi will now have to hand over copies of treatment records, including proof of competence of the doctor, to the patients when they are discharged.

Making it mandatory, the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission on Friday said the records were “necessary to ascertain charges of medical negligence”. Also, the commission said, patients have an “inherent right” to know about the treatment given to them.

Violation of the direction will amount to “deficiency of service” and be taken serious note of, the commission said.

Commission president Justice J.D. Kapoor and member Rumnita Mittal said: “It is not understandable as to why nursing homes, hospitals and doctors consider the record as confidential if they have nothing to hide….”

The direction came in a case relating to a two-year-old boy who had been admitted to a south Delhi clinic for micro stitches on his face. He slipped into a coma due to adverse reaction to the anaesthesia. Later, he died at the Ganga Ram Hospital.

Though there was no allegation of negligence against Ganga Ram Hospital, the commission took it to task for not providing the medical records to the complainant on the premise that they were “confidential in nature”.

“We want to make it clear that hospitals should not remain under a mistaken belief that they are not supposed to furnish the medical record of a patient,” Justice Kapoor said. Furnishing the copies will in fact help the hospitals to come clean, he added.