The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up the central and state governments for poor infrastructure and lack of facilities in the capital's hospitals even as authorities said the National Health Development Programme was being upgraded for improving patient care.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice M.K. Sharma and also including Justice Sanjeev Khanna, while hearing a court-appointed committee's report over the functioning of the hospitals, observed that there was a lot to be done to smoothen the functioning of the hospitals.
The court also took serious note of Tuesday's strike in city hospitals. "Despite our orders, strikes are going on. The government should take action against those who are participating in them," the bench said.
Meera Bhatia, a member of the committee, briefed the court about the status of hospitals. "They make very beautiful plans on paper but never materialise them," she said.
The court then ordered the central and Delhi governments to review their healthcare policies and present detailed plans before it. "Maintenance of the health sector in the capital is the responsibility of the central and state governments. So, they should perform their duty well," the bench said in its order.
The court was shocked to learn from the committee that there were 2.2 beds per 1,000 people in the capital's hospitals while the World Health Organisation (WHO) norm was five beds.
The government then informed the court that they needed a budget of over Rs.500 billion to fill the gap. "The number of outstation patients is increasing day by day. So the government should take stringent steps to improve the health services in the hospitals," the bench added.
Counsel for the central government also informed the court that the Safdurjung Hospital had no problem in admitting patients referred from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) except patients who need ventilation, dialysis and neuro surgery.
The court asked the Directorate General of Health Services to look into the matter and submit his report within six weeks.
Meanwhile, the court appreciated the steps taken by the state Health Department in curbing the spread of dengue fever. "This is a good step but make sure this will be followed every year," it said.