Delhi government hauls up private hospitals in state

New Delhi: The Delhi government is taking private hospitals to task. It wants private hospitals, which have been given land by the government at subsidised rates, to provide free treatment to weaker sections of society in the city.

A day earlier, the Delhi High Court had imposed a fine of Rs2 lakh on Indraprastha Apollo hospital for not complying with the land-lease agreement between the state and certain hospitals. The court has directed the hospital to reserve at least 200 beds for free treatment to poor patients. It has also directed the Delhi government to set up a special committee to monitor implementation by hospitals.

The court granted four weeks to the government to set up such centres in government hospitals to refer poor patients to private hospitals. The medical superintendents would be incharge of these referral centres.

The court asked the government to inspect the rates of medicines and other consumables provided to patients by these hospitals.

The court directive came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Social Jurists. The petition alleged that the hospital had failed to comply with the lease agreement with the Delhi government. The petitioner drew the court's attention to the fact that private hospitals float private companies to provide medicines at an inflated rate.

Delhi health minister Kiran Walia said action would be initiated against hospitals that do not provide 33 per cent free beds to poor patients in indoor patient department and 40 per cent poor in OPD as per the land-lease agreement with the government.