New Delhi: Over 500 patients, their family members and health activists from across the country formed a human chain at Jantar Mantar here demanding an end to “malpractices, gross overcharging and violation of patients’ rights” in private hospitals.
Representatives of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, All India Patients Rights Group, Mahila Pragati Manch, People for Better Treatment, National Campaign for Right to Public Health, and Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) addressed the gathering and pledged to launch a nationwide campaign to uphold patients’ rights and stop “exploitative practices” in private hospitals.
Women from low-income communities, patient victims, people living with HIV, health professionals and activists from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other states participated in the protest and formed a human chain to uphold Patients’ Rights and end malpractices in private hospitals immediately.
The participants shared their heart-rending stories of rampant profiteering, unaccountability and exploitation of ordinary patients which prevails in most private hospitals across India.
They demanded immediate implementation of National Human Rights Commission’s Charter for Patient Rights, drafted by the Union Health Ministry, regulation of rates in private hospitals and creation of a patient-friendly grievance redressal mechanism to deal with complaints in private hospitals.
The meeting concluded with the consensus and strong commitment of the six networks to launch a national campaign to ensure patients’ rights while taking forward the agitation demanding that the Union health minister must immediately adopt the complete charter of patients’ rights without bowing to pressure from the private medical lobby.
Deepa from Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Delhi demanded that the Charter of Patients rights which has been formulated by NHRC and displayed on the Health Ministry’s website for over 6 months, must be implemented immediately.
Dr Abhijit More from Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Maharashtra, said the Union Health Ministry must notify the standards for all levels of hospitals, which have been “languishing on their website for over five years”.