Delhi HC sets up expert committee to assess medical infra in city | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Delhi HC sets up expert committee to assess medical infra in city

Feb 14, 2024 06:56 AM IST

The Delhi High Court has formed a committee of experts to assess the medical infrastructure of state-run hospitals in the city and propose ways to optimize resources. The committee will focus on the availability of ICU beds with ventilator facilities, the functioning of emergency numbers, and the availability of medicine, consumables, and manpower. The committee has been given four weeks to submit an interim report and will then submit monthly reports. The court emphasized the need for significant investments and structural reforms in government hospitals to overcome years of neglect and apathy. Delhi's health minister admitted to a shortage of doctors, paramedics, and medicines, as well as non-functional radiological equipment, and suggested implementing a public-private partnership model for radiological tests.

New Delhi

Delhi HC sets up expert committee to assess medical infra in city
Delhi HC sets up expert committee to assess medical infra in city

The Delhi high court on Tuesday constituted a committee of experts to assess the medical infrastructure of state-run hospitals in the Capital, and to propose ways for the optimisation of existing resources.

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The six-member panel consists of Dr SK Sarin, chancellor of ILBS; Dr Nikhil Tandon, professor and head of the department of endocrinology and metabolism at AIIMS; Dr DK Sharma, Dr RP Eye Centre, AIIMS; Dr Suresh Kumar, director, Lok Nayak hospital; Dr Piyush Gupta, professor of paediatrics and principal, University College of Medical Sciences; and Dr Deepak K Tempe, vice chancellor, ILBS.The committee was constituted taking suo moto cognisance on the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds with ventilator facilities in Delhi government hospitals, and functioning of emergency numbers.

A bench led by acting chief justice Manmohan tasked the committee with recommending measures to ensure the availability of uninterrupted supply of medicine, consumables, and adequate manpower to operate high end equipment and critical care units in government hospitals, and directed the panel to submit an interim report within four weeks, and submit monthly reports thereafter.

“It is apparent that the infrastructure, (be it in the form of machines, medicines or manpower) is woefully inadequate at Delhi hospitals. With only six CT Scan machines being available in nineteen Delhi Government hospitals (which cater to a population in excess of three crores), the infrastructure needs to be ramped up manifold. After all in cases of emergencies like serious accident victims or strokes or heart attacks, there is no time to shift the patients to private clinics for scans. Without critical infrastructure being available at Delhi Government hospitals, the ‘golden hour’ of saving a life may be lost.” the bench, also comprising justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, said in an order.

“This Court is of the view that huge investments along with structural reforms in the functioning of Government hospitals, without entering into a blame game, are the need of the hour to overcome years of neglect and apathy which can only be done if there is a consensus on measures to be adopted both in the short and long term,” the court added.

Delhi health minister Saurabh Bhardwaj, appearing through advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi, admitted to a shortage of doctors, paramedics, and medicines, and non-functional radiological equipment, had suggested that the high court direct the health secretary and finance secretary to expedite the hiring of doctors and specialists on a contractual basis, and implement a public private partnership (PPP) model for radiological tests. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also accused the bureaucracy for not obeying his orders.

To be sure, the minister on Monday had told the high court that patients in Delhi government hospitals are dying for want of functional CT scan or MRI machines, and had accused the health department of delays in processing a proposal to outsource radiological services under a PPP mode. He had also alleged that the health secretary was filing affidavits regarding the Capital’s health infrastructure by bypassing his approval, with an attempt to “paint a rosy picture”.

Health secretary Deepak Kumar, appearing through advocate Avnish Ahlawat, denied allegations that the bureaucracy was failing to obey the minister’s instructions. He further submitted that patients possessing Aadhaar cards with residential addresses of Delhi can get their scans done free of cost from private hospitals/clinics.

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