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Delhi HC asks CS to implement committee’s healthcare recommendations

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the chief secretary to ensure implementation of recommendations of a seven-member committee constituted under him last year on the issue of financial assistance to poor patients in public hospitals here.

Accepting the suggestions, a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan asked the chief secretary to file an action taken report on or before October 15.

In its report, the committee, which comprised officials from both, the Centre and Delhi government, as well as the MCD, made several recommendations, including appointment of nodal officers by all public hospitals for all the health schemes, a website for every government hospital with real time updates on available medicine, implants and devices, and single window mechanism for the convenience of patients, among others. In September 2023, the high court had taken note of the constraints faced by the poor when they attempted to take the benefits under the health schemes and formed the seven-member committee headed by Delhi Chief Secretary to give recommendations on how to alleviate and cure the defects in the current system.

“This court accepts the recommendations made by the committee constituted by this court. Chief secretary, GNCTD shall be entitled to call monthly meetings of said committee to ensure effective implementation of the recommendations,” the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora, said on Friday.

“The court directs the chief secretary to convene monthly meetings till all recommendations are implemented,” it further said. In the report, the committee also suggested more proactiveness by hospitals in treatment of patients and expediting the process for financial approval, preferably within 7 days, and sensitising hospital staff on creating a patient-friendly environment.

The court came on a PIL which was initially a petition before a single judge by an individual, represented by advocate Ashok Agarwal, who was denied hip and knee replacement surgeries by AIIMS due to his inability to bear treatment costs.

After the hospital agreed to perform the surgery, the single judge said the facts of the case provoked crucial issues concerning accessibility of quality medical care for patients from marginalised sections of society and reclassified the plea as a public interest litigation (PIL).

Last year, the high court noted that the Delhi government has formulated schemes — Delhi Arogya Kosh and Delhi Arogya Nidhi — and these initiatives are complemented by ancillary schemes aimed at furnishing medical services to the residents of Delhi.

Similarly, the Central government has also promulgated schemes like the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi and the Health Minister’s Discretionary Grant but the economically weaker sections (EWS) faced several issues during treatment, submission of applications for financial assistance, procurement of quotations concerning implants etc. MillenniumPost

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