The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Government to take urgent steps for auditing of public medical institutions under its control through a third party agency.
The Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice S.P. Garg has directed the audit in order to “point out the deficiencies and shortcomings and suggest remedial measures to ensure availability of clinical, diagnostic and full panoply of medical services that each hospital was designed to cater to”.
During the hearing, the Court lamented the shortage of staff at the Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital and the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, opining that the same has “led to a woeful situation of inadequacy of services to the general public who deserve it and for whom there is a crying need for such services”.
It noted that a “great public expense” went into building both the hospitals and in procuring medical infrastructure in the form of equipment and highly specialized diagnostic machines. The shortage of staff has, however, “translated into both severe lack of access to cheap or free medical aid to the general public and scarcity of such public resources, though physical infrastructure has been created”, it said.
Taking serious note of the lacunae, the Court reminded the State of its primary duty to improve public health. It, thereafter, directed the Cabinet Secretary to examine the matter and with the assistance of an appropriate Committee, consider the feasibility of appointing an Expert Audit Committee which would suggest effective reforms. The Committee would be expected to consider appropriate long term measures to recruit crucial medical and para medical staff, in order to ensure stability in personnel availability.
“The Committee/experts may be also tasked with examining the feasibility of evolving a common on-line portal, showing to the members of the public the availability of various services on a dynamic basis linked centrally so that the bed position in each public hospital is updated on a daily basis. Such a web portal may also display the relevant disciplines that each hospital would cater to the bed capacity, etc,” the Court further ordered.
Directing the Principal Secretary, Health, Delhi Government to file a comprehensive affidavit in view of the directions issued, it has directed the matter to be listed on 27 October.