Give Free Treatment to Poor: HC Tells Apollo
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23 September 2009
New Delhi, India
The Delhi High Court ordered the Apollo hospital to provide free treatment to poor and also reserve 33 per cent in–house beds for them
The Delhi High Court has directed Apollo Hospital to provide free of cost treatment to poor patients and imposed a fine of Rs 200,000 on it for not abiding by an earlier court order.
Giving directions to the hospital, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan asked the hospital to reserve 33 per cent in–house beds and 40 per cent of the OPD for poor patients.
The hospital will now provide 200 beds to the poor patients from the 600 beds in its hospital, reports IANS.
“Health is a fundamental right and no one should be devoid of this,” the court said while hearing the 12–year–old legal battle.
The hospital will pay the fine of Rs 200,000 to the government and Social Jurists, a voluntary organisation that had filed the plea.
The hospital was also asked not to charge poor patients for medicines and other tests.
Hearing the petition for action against the hospital for charging fees from poor patients, in contravention of the lease agreement for the land allotted to it by the government at concessional rates, the court also directed the government to start a special referral centre in every government hospital to send poor patients to private hospitals for treatment.
The court also asked the Delhi government’s Health Secretary to nominate poor patients apart from below–poverty line (BPL) card holders and others who are economically weaker and send them to private hospitals for free treatment.
Besides, the government has been asked to appoint a nodal officer of the rank of medical superintendent to monitor the treatment given to poor patients. The nodal officer will also conduct an audit with the help of a chartered accountant and submit the report to the government.
The court asked the Delhi Chief Secretary to constitute a committee to oversee the implementation of the order in all hospitals who are to provide free treatment to poor patients and submit its report within six months.