Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Monday said a plan has been devised to prevent any "cash-for-treatment" episode in city government- health facilities like the one recently reported from the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently arrested a neurosurgeon of Safdarjung Hospital and his four accomplices, who allegedly forced patients into buying surgical equipment from a particular establishment at exorbitant prices. The agency is probing offences, including overbilling, money laundering and demand of bribe from poor people for treatment. Bharadwaj on Monday conducted a surprise inspection of the state-run LNJP Hospital to review the preparedness amid a spurt in Covid cases, and also asked patients if they had been approached by touts.
The minister said that there have been no corruption complaints against Delhi government hospitals. "Despite this, to ensure that such activities do not take place in Delhi's government hospitals, a plan has been devised with hospital management under the instructions of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal," he said. This plan involves writing down whatever surgery will be performed, along with the time the patient has come to the hospital. Patients will be given treatment based on the severity of their condition and disease, he explained. The patients were advised that if any broker tries to deceive them or take financial advantage of them in the hospital, they should immediately inform the hospital administration so that appropriate action can be taken against them. Patients from other states, including Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, have also sought treatment at the hospital and expressed satisfaction with the health facilities provided by the Kejriwal government, he said.
The LNJP has set up a 450-bed isolation ward for COVID-19 patients, with a separate isolation ward for stable patients. "Currently, most of the admitted patients are recovering, and the number of deaths from COVID-19 is negligible. Deaths are only happening in cases where the patient has increased diabetes or is on dialysis," he said. The health minister instructed the staff that the hospital administration should ensure that the people coming for treatment receive quality treatment. Along with this, patients should be given treatment on a priority basis, keeping in view the severity of the disease. "LNJP is one of the largest hospitals in Delhi, where a large number of patients come for treatment. During the hospital inspection, we observed how many COVID-19 beds were available in the hospital, and how many were authorised. We also assessed the arrangements for the availability of oxygen in the hospital," the minister said.
The hospital administration informed the minister that the availability of oxygen during the previous wave of COVID-19 was five tonnes, but now it has increased 10 times to 50 tonnes. "Only four tonnes of oxygen are currently being used. Presently, both oxygen and COVID-19 beds are available in sufficient numbers. No emergency or dangerous situation is currently known," he said. He said that the current variant of COVID-19 is not being considered very dangerous. Those who have cough, cold, or fever must wear masks to prevent the further spread of the infection, he said. People with complaints of chronic illness, low immunity, and comorbid conditions should avoid going to crowded places and try to stay at home. They should also use masks and take precautions, he said. He asserted that the Health Department is monitoring the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis, and the hospital administration has been instructed to maintain full readiness for any situation.