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Court Orders Private Hospitals To Provide Free Treatment For The Poor

A separate cell has been established by the Delhi Government to monitor the activity of hospitals after the Delhi High Court had ruled that free treatment should be provided by the city’s hospitals //to the poor people. The cell will strengthen the public healthcare system ensuring that the needy segments of society actually benefit from the court's order that covers hospitals built on land provided by the government at concessional rates.

The government has appointed five members to the cell, which will start functioning by 20 February 2006. Advertisements will be issued in leading Hindi newspapers so that people with a monthly income of less than Rs.2,000 become aware that they are entitled to free healthcare under the court's directive. As many as 70 hospitals in the city were allotted land at concessional rates on the assurance that they would provide free medical treatment to the poor.

But complaints had poured in from the poor that they had been denied treatment in some of these hospitals. The members of the cell will visit the concerned hospitals to check the records to ascertain how many poor patients were treated.

The 70 hospitals will also have to devote 10% to 25% of their total beds free of cost to poor patients. The hospitals which are found to be guilty of this practice will be fined by the Government. Private hospitals on the other hand contend that they are only obliged to provide only free hospitalization, while the patients will have to bear expenses like buying medicines.

Edited (IANS)

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