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Visit Delhi govt hospitals, Mohalla Clinics to get feedback on medicine availability: Health minister to CS

No immediate reaction was available from Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar or Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar on the claims and charges of Bharadwaj, a senior Aam Aadmi Party leader.
Last Updated : 17 April 2024, 16:10 IST
Last Updated : 17 April 2024, 16:10 IST

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New Delhi: Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj has directed the chief secretary to personally visit one government hospital and Mohalla Clinic every day and get firsthand feedback on "scarcity" of medicines and consumables by interacting with patients and their attendants, officials said on Wednesday.

The top bureaucrat of the Delhi government has also been directed to furnish daily reports, they said.

The ground reports 'unequivocally indicate' a 'distressing scarcity' of free medicines while it has been asserted by the chief secretary and health secretary that every patient is receiving all essential medications or their suitable alternatives, the minister said.

No immediate reaction was available from Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar or Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar on the claims and charges of Bharadwaj, a senior Aam Aadmi Party leader.

Bharadwaj in a file note referred to a meeting held on April 8 and in the note said the chief secretary, the health secretary and the director general health services had briefed him that all medicines are available in hospitals, and if anything is not available, their substitutes are being provided.

"In order to get a firsthand and true experience with respect to shortage of essential medicines and consumables in hospitals, it is directed that instead of taking shield of different rule positions, the chief secretary should personally visit one Delhi government hospital and one Mohalla Clinic during OPD (outdoor patient departments) hours- 8.00 AM to 2.00 PM," the note stated.

The minister has directed the chief secretary to interact with patients and their attendants in the waiting area near pharmacy counters and enquire from them whether medicines prescribed by hospital doctors have been provided or not.

Bharadwaj has also asked chief secretary to share the daily roster for the next two weeks and send a daily report about the situation to him in a specific format.

The health minister has said in the note, dated April 12, that the chief secretary and the health secretary have 'blatantly misled' both the government and the legislative assembly regarding the availability of medicines.

The issue of scarcity of medicines and alleged attempts to stop lab tests at Mohalla Clinics was discussed by the assembly in its session that concluded earlier this month.

The assembly on April 8 discussed the issue through a 'special mention' under Rule 54. A number of AAP MLAs claimed to have evidence about scarcity of medicines at hospitals of the Delhi government.

The health secretary was present in the gallery at the time of discussion.

"The chief secretary and the health secretary should explain why they have misled the undersigned (health minister) as well as the legislative assembly of Delhi by providing misleading report," Bharadwaj said in the note.

He claimed that as an afterthought, the chief secretary made a 'frivolous excuse' that all routine files of departments are not routed through him so he cannot supervise the availability of medicines and consumables.

Routine files of departments were never routed through the chief secretary during the tenure of earlier chief secretaries as well. However, the supervision over department secretaries is always the responsibility of the chief secretary, the minister said in the note.

He mandated that specific directions to the chief secretary regarding availability of medicines need to be complied with and without any excuses, Bharadwaj added

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Published 17 April 2024, 16:10 IST

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