The Principal Secretary (Health)
Government of NCT of Delhi
I.P. Estate, New Delhi-110002
Sub: Free-Beds for EWS patients in Pvt. Hospitals – Need for wider publicity
While I fully appreciate the Delhi Government issuing detailed guidelines to private hospitals regarding free medical treatment to patients under the EWS category, I would like to point out that at present there is almost complete absence of information to EWS category patients about such free treatment available to them. Consequently, most beds reserved under this category continue to remain unoccupied in most private hospitals despite the existence of a large number of poor patients who are eligible for free medical treatment.
In order to create adequate public awareness on the issue and facilitate the EWS category patients to avail the free medical treatment in private hospitals ---- which has been made possible through the landmark judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court---- I would like to make the following suggestions to the Delhi Government:
i) The Delhi Government should immediately come out with prominently-displayed public service advertisements in all major newspapers, magazines and television channels of different languages detailing the names of hospitals where such free treatment is available as well as the number of beds available is each hospital.
ii) Such public service ads should also clearly mention the eligibility criteria for free treatment which includes the important fact which has been categorically states by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that a patient doesn’t have to furnish any documentary proof of his/her income or any other documents while availing the free treatment. And that s/he only needs to fill a declaration form starting that his/her monthly income is less that Rs. 6,422.00.
iii) Such public service ads should also clearly mention what all is available to the EWS patients under the EWS category so as to do away with the earlier misconception that they need to pay for the medicines, etc.
iv) Such public service ads should also include an easy to remember 24X7 Helpline Number (preferable a four digit one as allotted for other emergency services like CATS) where patients may call for inquiries as well as lodge complaints regarding erring hospitals.
v) Such public service ads should also state the provision regarding diversion of such patients from government hospitals.
vi) The above mentioned information should also be displayed prominently in major languages outside all the private hospital which provide free treatment as well as in all government-run hospitals.
vii) Members of the Monitoring Committee constituted by Delhi Govt. with names, addresses, telephone numbers etc. be displayed both in the private and government hospitals.
viii) The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Orders dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist PIL
were pleased to pass the directions: “We direct the Director General of Health Services, Union of India, as well as Director General Health Services Govt. of NCT of Delhi to constitute a Special Cell to comply with the directions of the Court including the receipt of various informations and money as directed in this judgment. Let this be done within two weeks from today.” It is submitted that the Special Cell as contemplated in the Orders has not been constituted till date. Kindly do the needful in this regard.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Member of the Monitoring Committee and Inspection Committee