Pvt hospitals still flout EWS norms

Despite govt orders, poor are shunned

Despite repeated furore and government orders to mend their ways, private hospitals identified to provide a particular percentage of their services free to poor patients have been found flouting norms. They also create a hostile environment for the people from economically weaker section, which discourages them from visiting the hospital.

In a four-day long survey of 20 identified private hospitals, non-governmental organisation Social Jurist found that most of the hospitals do not accept undertaking of being below poverty line by the patients’ families.

According to Supreme Court as well as the Delhi High Court ruling, patient’s BPL status is to be determined after production of the BPL card, salary slip or any such document.
However, in absence of any document, an undertaking by the patient or a family member would suffice.

Most of the 20 hospitals surveyed did not follow the norm, unless there was an intervention by the  members of the High Court appointed monitoring committee.
Similarly, guidelines by the Delhi government state that the board containing names of members of the monitoring committee and relevant contact numbers should be displayed at a prominent place in the hospital. However, in most hospitals, the place chosen was inadequate. For example, in Primus Hospital, the board is in the parking lot.

“EWS patients hardly go by private vehicles and hence hardly to the parking lot,” said advocate Khagesh Jha a Social Jurist member.

“In Jeevodaya Hospital, it is placed above the guard’s room, unable to be seen from the gate,” he added. Each team of survey comprised of a lawyer, an intern, a social worker and a patient.

In Jeevodaya, patients needing a gynaecology treatment are not treated under free category on the basis that services only under general medicine are provided free to EWS patients. Such patients are asked to pay Rs 250 as registration fee.
The team members noted many hospitals have a separate doctor for EWS patients who is only a general physician. “The same person tends to patients with ENT, gynaecological, cardiological or any other problem,” said Jha.

Except for two hospitals, all others were found to be either not giving free medicines or giving it for a period shorter than that prescribed by the doctor.
SunderLal Jain hospital has two separate wards for EWS patients. “They are more like isolated wards which are understaffed and one has to run around to call for a nurse or any other medical professional,” said a team member.

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