Action will be taken against hospitals if they turn away patients: Health Minister


File Photo: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (PTI Photo)

File Photo: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (PTI Photo)

Action would be taken against healthcare personnel if any patient needing immediate attention is turned away from hospitals without treatment, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.

He made the remarks while chairing a video conference meeting with the Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and medical superintendents of major central and city government hospitals and municipal commissioners of Delhi.

Vardhan said he has received a lot of complaints through calls, social media, twitter and the print media, regarding denial of treatment to patients suffering from critical ailments, other than COVID-19.

He said these patients include those requiring dialysis, blood transfusion and those suffering from respiratory or heart diseases.

“We need to take a serious view against this denial of treatment to patients who have been visiting hospitals in case of emergency and are being forced to visit a number of hospitals, one after another resulting in denial of immediate medical attention which may result in loss of their lives,” the Minister said.

He instructed all the medical superintendents of hospitals to take proper care of non-COVID patients just like they are taking care of COVID-19 patients.

It is a testing time for everybody during the lockdown. Patients who are really ill and require urgent medical attention are venturing out with great difficulty to reach the hospital for treatment in this situation, Vardhan said.

“We should not turn them away on any kind of flimsy pretexts as certain procedures like blood transfusion, dialysis etc can’t wait,” he said.

“Action would be taken against erring health care personnel if any patient needing immediate attention is turned away from hospitals without treatment,” he said.

He said the national capital presently has dedicated COVID-19 facilities in hospitals like AIIMS and Safdarjung, and two dedicated COVID Delhi Government hospitals–LNJP and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital.

The rest of the hospitals are supposed to take care of non- COVID patients who have been visiting hospitals with a hope of getting due treatment, Vardhan said.

The health ministry has also issued a detailed guideline on enabling delivery of essential healthcare services to meet the unprecedented demand on the current healthcare system during this outbreak.

Such patients may also be provided services related to tele-consultation, digital prescription and home delivery of medicines, Vardhan said.

He urged them to respond to these patients with compassion and care as they are already going through severe hardships during the lockdown.

We need pre-emptive, proactive, and effective measures to treat all the needy patients including those from vulnerable sections, the Union minister said

Vardhan exhorted hospitals to keep sufficient blood stock for transfusion by promoting voluntary blood donors and utilising various services like mobile blood collection vans with the help of Indian Red Cross Society.

In addition to this, he asked the Indian Red Cross Society to send such mobile blood collection vans to the premises of regular blood donors to facilitate them to come forward for blood donation which is a noble deed at this point of time.