Ensure critical health services not denied: Centre

Ensure critical health services like dialysis, blood transfusion are not denied: Centre to states

The Centre on Tuesday asked the States to ensure that private hospitals do not deny critical treatments like dialysis, chemotherapy, blood transfusion and institutional deliveries to patients in the wake of receiving several complaints

In a letter to the state governments, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan wrote that the ministry had received reports of private hospitals turning away patients requiring key services primarily due to the fear of contracting Covid-19.

In many places patients requiring treatments are first asked to undergo the Covid-19 tests even without any symptoms. There are reports of hospitals forcing the in-patients to be tested for the virus, even though such tests are unnecessary.

“For patients who need these critical services, it needs to be ensured that all the health facilities, especially those in the private sector continue to be functional and provide such services so that such patients do not face any hardships,” wrote Sudan, who was given three months of extension in the service to lead the battle against the pandemic.

“At this time of crisis when health services are needed the most, the private sector has been missing-in-action and of the few private facilities that remain functional, many are profiteering. Most private hospitals have reduced or completely shut down their out-patient and in-patient services. They are unable to contribute to surveillance. Shutting down hospitals is a violation of Essential Services Maintenance Act and an abdication of their professional responsibility,” alleged public health campaigners from Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and All India Peoples Science Network.

In her letter, Sudan cited orders from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs as well as guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research and Union Health Ministry to remind the states that they were duty-bound to convince the private healthcare industry to start functioning and offer the life-critical services.

She asked the state governments to “allay the fears, alleviate uncertainty and to ensure that all the health facilities, especially those in the private sector do remain functional.” This would be applicable for both clinics and hospitals.

“Anyone needing any essential services including dialysis, blood transfusion, chemotherapy and institutional deliveries is not denied such services,” she added.