By- Correspondent | Date- August 26, 2011
In a significant directive, the Supreme Court of India yesterday directed the private hospitals in Delhi to allocate 25% of their out-patient department capacity and 10% in patient department capacity for free treatment of poor and the needy.
It also asked the Delhi government to come up with a workable scheme for the 27 city private hospitals to provide free treatment to poor patients which they are obliged to in exchange for getting land at concessional rates. Mentionable that, under this scheme the private hospitals are to provide free treatment to patients from weaker sections at 10 percent of the hospital bed-strength.
The apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik issued the direction when Delhi government’s claim that 27 private hospitals were providing complete treatment to poor patients was disputed by Dharamshila Cancer hospital. The court also asked the Delhi government not to delay in implementing a scheme in this regard and also to appoint a nodal officer who would direct the poor patients to private hospitals for free treatment.
This directive has come as welcome news to the poor and the needy. Although the margin of only 10% bed strength free treatment to the poor can be contested as too low, this can be considered as first step. The social activists and different NGOs working for the poorer sections of the society have welcomed the decision.