6 CT machines for a population of 30 million: Court pulls up Delhi govt | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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6 CT machines for a population of 30 million: Court pulls up Delhi govt

Feb 06, 2024 06:12 AM IST

The Delhi high court was hearing a plea seeking probe into the death of a man who was refused treatment by government hospitals

The Delhi high court on Monday expressed displeasure over availability of only six CT scan machines in 19 hospitals, which cater to the Capital’s nearly 30 million population, and nudged the Delhi government to ramp up public health infrastructure and bed capacity.

The court was considering an application seeking investigation into the death of a man who had jumped off a moving police control room van last month, and was refused treatment by government hospitals. (HT Archive)
The court was considering an application seeking investigation into the death of a man who had jumped off a moving police control room van last month, and was refused treatment by government hospitals. (HT Archive)

“From what we’ve read & seen, lives are being lost because people are not being attended to... because facilities aren’t available. You’ll have to ramp up your infrastructure. How can you have six machines (CT scan) for a three-crore population? Even out of these six, [just] five machines you’re saying are fully functional,” a bench led by acting chief justice Manmohan said to principal secretary, health, who was present in person.

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The remarks came days after lieutenant governor (LG) VK Saxena wrote to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, expressing “disappointment and concern” about the state of public health infrastructure in the Capital, and seeking a “time bound response” and the submission of a factual report about the sector. Kejriwal, responded by pinning the blame for state of Delhi’s health system on two bureaucrats — health secretary and finance secretary — and asked LG to replace both of them.

The court was considering an application seeking investigation into the death of a man who had jumped off a moving police control room van last month, and was refused treatment by government hospitals.

The application filed by amicus curiae Ashok Agarwal said the man was denied admission by four hospitals due to non-availability of necessary facilities.

During the hearing, the bench also comprising justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora asked the Delhi government to act against the official who mentioned incorrect facts regarding the functioning of CT scan machines and ventilators in its hospitals in government’s January 30 status report.

“Your officer who is saying that [five out of six machines are functional] must be very careful. You (Delhi government) must take some action. City officers aren’t doing service by giving a wrong picture,” the court said to advocate Satyakam, who appeared for Delhi government.

To be sure, the high court earlier reprimanded the Delhi administration for incorrect data regarding the functioning of machines, saying patients on the ground were being denied admission due to non-availability of medical facilities.

The court indicated that it would pass an order regarding the constitution of an expert committee to assess the situation of hospitals and suggest measures for improving the infrastructure on February 12.

On Monday, Delhi health minister Saurabh Bhardwaj appearing through advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted that the hospitals were grappling with the shortage of doctors, paramedics, medicines and non-functional radiological equipment due to difficulty in maintaining existing equipment, non-availability of radiologists, lengthy process of replacing obsolete equipment such as CT Scan, MRI, linear accelerator etc.

The minister in the status report highlighted that though the government was in the process of creating new beds in the hospitals, three major hospitals with a bed strength of 2,400, owing to lack of personnel, they were only working at 20% capacity. He suggested that the high court direct the health and finance secretary to expedite hiring of doctors, specialists and paramedics on contractual basis.

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