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Millennium Post

Delhi govt to ensure EWS beds in pvt hospitals are filled

Delhi government is planning to come up with an effective system to ensure strict compliance to fill the beds reserved for poor people in private hospitals of the city. A high level meeting was summoned by the Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain on Monday in which the minister directed the concerned officers to prepare a detailed policy.

“We had a meeting to ensure beds reserved for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category patients in private hospitals. This issue is on our priority and we are working on it. We will soon come up with a detailed policy to ensure that all EWS beds are filled and the poor are not ignored in private hospitals,” Satyendra Jain told Millennium Post. “We will come out with fresh guidelines in the next 15 days; while for some issues bills would be brought about in the Assembly,” he added.

According to sources, the government is planning to depute a “patient welfare officer” at each government hospital who will follow up each and every case of EWS category — searching availability of a bed in a private hospital and ensuring the admission of the patient.

The system of PWO was introduced on the direction of Delhi High Court but most of the positions are lying vacant and private hospitals hardly attempt to oblige them. The government is also looking at another option to outsource management of these beds to a non-profit organisation and limit government role to monitoring. The government is also planning to give concessions or waive off conversion charges if a businessman desires to open a hospital on an industrial plot.

The government is also planning to open a pharmacy (medical store) in Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Sarita Vihar. “Apollo argues that it cannot provide medicines and consumables and so it denies free health facility to poor patients. By opening a pharmacy on the lines of government hospitals in the hospital premises, the Delhi government will be able to add 300 beds in the pool of already existing 636 EWS category beds in the city,” said Ashok Agarwal, member of Delhi High Court EWS beds monitoring committee.

Presently, there are 636 beds for EWS category patients reserved in 44 private hospitals in the city but more than half lie vacant. In a series of news reports from August, 14, 2014 this newspaper had published the findings of Delhi High Court appointed monitoring committee which revealed that five big hospitals had less than six percent beds filled for EWS out of which three had entertained less than one percent poor patients.
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