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Show some speed: HC to govts on lack of docs at public hosps

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the Centre and Delhi government to start the recruitment process for the appointment of doctors and paramedical staff in government-run hospitals here.

The court was hearing a petition which claimed that there is an acute shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in government-run hospitals in the city.

You (authorities) start the recruitment process and appoint them. Show some speed. This is required," said the bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.

"It is not necessary that all vacancies should be filled (if) you are not getting suitable candidates. Start the process. You can't say that you will never start the process," the bench said while hearing the petition seeking immediate filling up of vacancies.

The court issued notice on the public interest litigation by Dr Nand Kishore Garg, a social activist and former Delhi MLA and sought a response from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital, and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

The petitioner, represented by lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi, claimed that the shortage of staff was resulting in innocent and poor patients being forced to approach private hospitals and pay huge amounts of money. The petitioner has argued that the government authorities have not carried

out their constitutional responsibilities and thus violated Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

As per the RTI replies dated February 7, 2020, 1,838 doctors have been working in the health and welfare department of Delhi while 745 posts of doctors were lying vacant and as per the RTI reply dated November 2, 2021, Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital had a sanctioned strength of 475 paramedics, of which 135 post are lying vacant, the petition stated.

(RTI) discloses more than 800 vacancies of doctors in different categories and are lying vacant in AIIMS alone, while in another hospital of the central government namely Safdarjung is having shortages of 433 doctors and 67 paramedics. Further, the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital has vacancies of more than 100 doctors and paramedics, it added.

The petition has submitted that inadequate infrastructure in the government hospitals is becoming ominous because of serious diseases like COVID-19 and other communicable life-threatening ailments. The matter would be heard next on January 12.

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