Court orders 14 city hospitals to enforce EWS quota

Notices issued to 11 more institutes

Delhi High Court ordered 14 private hospitals on Wednesday to begin a quota for poor patients. The order said all hospitals running on public land are covered under free treatment clause for people from the economically weaker sections, whether their contracts explicitly mention this or not. 

Among the 45 private hospitals built on central or state government’s land, 21 had it mentioned in their allotment letter that they will have to provide 10 per cent of outpatient department (OPD) and 25 per cent inpatient department (IPD) services to the poor.  However, allotment letters for 14 hospitals had different terms than this. They were asked to reserve seats for the poor but either the percentage to be covered was different than the above mentioned, or there was no specific mention at all.  This includes names like Ganga Ram, Moolchand, St Stephen’s and Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro-Sciences (VIMHANS), and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, among others. Through this judgement all identified hospitals have to reserve the same percentage for the EWS patients. “The High Court mentioned that prima facie all hospitals whether EWS clause is explicitly mentioned or not, but running on public land, are covered under EWS free treatment clause,” said advocate Khagesh Jha member, NGO Social Jurist. The organisation had filed a case of contempt against three hospitals for not following the apex court order of September 2011 of providing mandated free beds and services to the poor.  Hospitals claimed there was nothing specific mentioned in their terms of contract, so they were not bound by the clause. The judgement, however, has issued notices to 11 more who would fall in the same category. 

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