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Hospitals aren’t publicising Delhi govt’s free treatment scheme enough

PUBLISHED ON NOV 26, 2019 08:32 PM IST

New Delhi

Two months after the government issued guidelines, many private hospitals in the city are yet to put up boards to inform accident victims that their treatment would be free under a Delhi government scheme.

Under the ‘Farishtey Dilli Ke’ scheme, accident, fire, and acid attack victims are eligible for free treatment at any of the private hospitals in the city, the cost of which is borne by the Delhi government.

A spot-check of six hospitals showed there were no display boards or information near the hospital reception or registration counters or the emergency departments, as advised by the Delhi government.

Though the scheme had been running since February 2018, the guidelines for formally launching the scheme were released on October 8 by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The hospitals were supposed to put up the boards at three prominent locations.

“The locations will be outside the entrance (visible from the road side), the entry point of casualty and emergency ward and reception or any other prominent public location,” the directive says.

The hospitals had been given two weeks to comply with the guideline, following which the government had sent a warning on November 20.

“A reminder has already been sent to all the hospitals, asking them to put up the boards and ensure all eligible patients are aware about the scheme,” said a Delhi government official, on condition of anonymity.

According to the government, 2,938 people had been treated under the scheme till July 2019, shows latest data. Under the new guidelines, treatment has to be provided to accident, fire, and acid attack victim up to 72 hours of the incident, even if the case has been referred by another centre.

The government has already received several complaints of either patients not being informed about the scheme or hospitals not treating them for free. The government has sent show-cause notices to the hospitals, threatening cancelling of registration under the Nursing Homes Act.

“This step to ensure all hospitals display the information has been taken to protect the hospitals as well. Right now, we are receiving complaints where the patients are saying they were not informed about the scheme and had they known they would have undergone treatment in the economy category (for which the scheme pays). When we ask the hospitals, they say they did inform the patient. If the boards are put up, then we will know for sure the patients knowingly opted for treatment in private rooms, etc,” said another Delhi government official.

Dr Girish Tyagi, president elect of the Delhi Medical Association, said: “The hospitals and nursing homes are not allowed to refuse care to accident victims, with or without the Delhi government programme. This is a Supreme Court mandate. So the people in need are anyway getting treatment.”

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