The Kerala High Court recently directed State's Principal Health Secretary to decide a medical officer's representation seeking to relieve clinical doctors from the responsibility of participating in meetings of Gram-level Administrative Committees for the purpose of deciding list of beneficiaries eligible for financial assistance for kidney dialysis.
The Petitioner alleged that to participate in such meetings, Medical Officers of Primary, Family and Community Health Centres have to abstain from their duties, which in turn adversely affects other ordinary patients.
He apprehended that "doctors in the primary, family, and community health centre will be implicated in some criminal case under the prevention of corruption Act for the corruption done by the Panchayath Governing Body in granting and distributing money for the kidney dialysis treatment to in eligible candidates and its misuse."
The petitioner thus sought that rather non-clinical doctors be vested with the aforesaid responsibility.
Justice N. Nagaresh has directed the Health Secretary to take appropriate decision in the matter, within a period of two months.
The petitioner challenged the Circular issued by the Additional Secretary of the Local Self Department, Government Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram (3rd respondent herein), relating to the sanction for providing financial assistance for dialysis for all categories of kidney patients through the concerned Hospital to the extent of Rs.1,000/- per week to a maximum of Rs.4,000/- per month.
In the plea filed through Advocate R. Gopan, it was averred by the Petitioner that as per the government order, the administrative Committee of each Grama Panchayath had to prepare list of eligible beneficiaries for providing Financial assistance to kidney patient, and the Grama Sabha thereafter had to approve the said list. The amount would then have to be disbursed from the Panchayat fund, and the Government Doctors of the hospital within the limits of the Grama Panchayath would be the implementing officers of the scheme, who would have to issue cheque to the Government or Private Hospital as may be submitted by the Panchayat.
In this light, it was submitted by the petitioner that there were no facilities in the primary, family, and community Health Centres to provide Dialysis treatment for kidney patients. It was submitted that the doctors did not have any role to certify or examine the patients who were included in the list of beneficiaries prepared by the Governing Body of the Panchayath nor any authority to examine or clarify whether the private hospital to whom the cheque was issued has the requisite facility to give the Dialysis or whether the patient had undergone the the treatment by using the fund of the Panchayath.
It was also submitted by the petitioners that the responsibility and duties for selecting deserving candidate from the list prepared by the Administrative Committee of the Grama Panchayath ought to be given to the doctors in the non-clinical cadre, so as not to burden the doctors in the clinical cadre.
It was averred that the petitioner had approached the Chief Secretary, Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram (1st respondent herein) with a representation seeking clarification in the Circular, which was still pending. It was in these circumstances that the instant petition was filed seeking direction to the 3rd respondent that doctors in the clinical cadre would not be insisted upon to attend the meetings that had been scheduled to be held, pending the disposal of the Writ, and also issuance of writ of mandamus seeking the respondents to consider and dispose the representations made by the petitioner expeditiously.
Government Pleader Vidya Kuriakose appeared on behalf of the respondent authorities.
Case Title: Dr. Prathibha K. v. State of Kerala & Ors.