Thursday, September 1, 2011

Private hospitals to provide free treatment to poor: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Delhi's private hospitals, built on subsidised government land, to provide free treatment to the poor, saying they cannot "wriggle out" of their responsibility.

A bench of justices R V Raveendrana and A K Patnaik asked the city hospitals to reserve 25% of their out-patient department capacity and 10 per cent of beds at the indoor level for free treatment of the poor.

The hospitals cannot "wriggle out" of their responsibility to treat the poor free of cost, the court said.

"The bottom line is that the poor patients are not to be charged," said the bench, dismissing the plea of some private hospitals against providing free treatment to the poor.

The court passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by ten private hospitals challenging a Delhi high court order to provide free treatment to the poor patients as per the land lease agreements between the government and them.

There are 37 hospitals which were granted land by the government at concessional rates out of which 27 have been providing free treatment to poor patients.

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