Allahabad HC Directs Health Dept to Prepare SOPs For Management, Security of All Levels of Hospitals
Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court last week directed the Additional Chief Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare, to submit before the Court details of SOPs / Plan prepared by the State Government for all levels of Hospitals i.e. District hospitals, Community Health Centres and Primary Health Centres.
Further, the High Court bench comprising of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Piyush Agrawal also mentioned that "He shall also clearly state in his affidavit as to whether SOPs / Plan as prepared by the State Government, is being strictly implemented at all the hospitals and if not then within what period, it shall be fully implemented."
Such directions have come from the High Court bench after the Court went through the safety and security plan shared by the Chief Medical Superintendent of a Prayagraj-based hospital.
The High Court was considering a Habeas Corpus Petition which concerned a man, who was admitted to TB Sapru Hospital in Prayagraj for the treatment of COVID-19. However, he went missing from his bed of the hospital since morning of 08.05.2021.
During the hearing of the case on August 19, the High Court had directed the State Government to ensure that before the next date of hearing the corpus may be traced and placed before the Court. The Court, back then had also directed the Chief Medical Superintendent of T.B. Sapru Hospital to file a counter affidavit regarding the matter.
However, the corpus was still missing on August 27, and that is why the Senior Superintendent of Police, Prayagraj had sought another week's time for this purpose. The Court granted the time.
In this respect, the court also took note of the fact that the Additional Chief Secretary, Home has mentioned in the affidavit that DIG / S.S.P. Prayagraj has been directed to constitute an S.I.T. under the guidance and supervision of an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police and the S.I.T. was directed to submit its report within 07 days to the Government.
Finding nothing on record to show that the S.I.T has been constituted, the High Court bench directed the DIG/ S.S.P. Prayagraj to comply with the direction and asked it to submit the compliance report as well as the report of S.I.T before the High Court bench.
Further perusing the details related to the case, the Court noted that the District Magistrate of Prayagraj in a letter addressed to the Principal, Motilal Nehru Hospital, Prayagraj and Chief Medical Officer, Prayagraj had annexed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for making immediate compliance.
Following this, the Court also took noted of the safety and security plan shared by the Chief Medical Superintendent of the Hospital in her personal affidavit. After perusing these two documents, the High Court bench noted, "we are constrained to observe that either the State Government has not yet prepared uniform SOPs for District Hospitals in Uttar Pradesh including T.B. Sapru Hospital, Prayagraj or deliberately the same has not been brought on record."
"It is unbelievable that the State Government, which is running large number of Hospitals in the State of Uttar Pradesh, would not have any uniform SOPs or Plan for appropriate administration, management and security of the Hospitals," further observed the bench.
Therefore, the Court directed the Additional Chief Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare, to file his personal affidavit on or before the next date fixed annexing therewith details of SOPs / Plan prepared by the State Government for all levels of Hospitals i.e. District hospitals, Community Health Centres and Primary Health Centres.
"He shall also clearly state in his affidavit as to whether SOPs / Plan as prepared by the State Government, is being strictly implemented at all the hospitals and if not then within what period, it shall be fully implemented," read the High Court judgment.
Thus, the Court directed the concerned authorities to file their personal affidavits and clearly mention in there the standards and norms of infrastructure, medical equipments as well as other equipments, security and safety measures etc. prescribed by the State Government for District Hospitals, Community Health Centres and Primary Health Centres, Moti Lal Nehru Medical College and S.R.N. Hospital Prayagraj, as well as existing facilities available.
Further referring to the safety and security of the Hospital in question (T.B. Sapru Hospital), the Court opined that the Chief Medical Superintendent tried to mislead the Court by stating that all the CCTV cameras were functional as Senior Superintendent of Police had submitted before the Court that the cameras were not functional and the footages couldn't be obtained.
In this respect, the Chief Medical Superintendent contended that the storage capacity of the cameras were for only four days and after a lapse of such a long time it was not possible for getting the footage.
At this outset, after perusing the affidavits submitted by the Police and the Hospital authorities, the High Court bench opined that Doctors, as well as Staff of the Hospital, were well aware of the incident of missing of the corpus since the morning of 8.5.2021.
"They were so careless and irresponsible that they even have not taken any effective steps in discharge of their duties. Even subsequent action shown to have been taken, appears to be an eye wash," noted the Court.
"Thus, prima facie, it shows irresponsible and negligent attitude of the authorities including the Director General of Medical Health," the order mentioned.
Thus, the bench listed the matter to be heard on September 10 and directed the concerned authorities to take appropriate corrective measures to ensure improvement in working of the Hospitals, security and safety measure etc.
"This should be in reality and not as a part of paper work," warned the Court.
To read the court order, click on the link below.