Doctor Shortage: HC asks Delhi to expeditiously recruit doctors, paramedics in Govt hospitals
New Delhi: Pointing out shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in government run hospitals in Delhi, a Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking to fill the vacancies on an urgent basis.
Deliberating the petition, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre, the Delhi Government and others on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction for the immediate appointment of doctors and paramedical staff in the government-run hospitals like AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital etc including local bodies as well as in Mohalla clinics, run by the government of NCT of Delhi on urgent basis against their sanctioned vacancies.
The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the Delhi government and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to begin the initial steps for the recruitment process.
Justice Patil told CGSC Anil Soni who was appearing for the ministry,
"No one is asking you to fill all the vacancies. But at least show some speed."
The bench added, "It is not necessary that all vacancies should be filled (if) you are not getting suitable candidates. Start the process. You can't say that you will never start the process."
The petition filed by Dr Nand Kishore Garg, a former MLA of Delhi from Trinagar constituency, through Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi stated that there has been an acute shortage of around 30-40 percent doctors and paramedical staff in the government-run hospitals which have been worsening with each passing of the day.
ANI reports that the plea stated that the innocent and poor patients are being denied their treatment on account of an acute shortage of doctors and paramedical staff including misinformation about the availability of relevant infrastructure and specialized doctors.
According to a media report in the Hindustan Times, the petition stated, "As per RTI replies dated February 7, 2020, 1,838 doctors have been working in the health and welfare department of Delhi while 745 posts of doctors were lying vacant, and, as per the RTI reply dated November 2, 2021, in government hospitals, such as Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, the sanctioned strength of paramedical officials is 475, out of which 135 posts are vacant."
He alleged that there are over 800 vacancies of doctors in various categories in AIIMS alone. He cited Safdarjung hospital, alleging it to be short of 433 doctors and 67 paramedical staff. The petitioner further added that in Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, there are over more than 100 vacancies of doctors and paramedical staff.
The plea noted, "Government run hospitals are unable to treat the patients on time and in such circumstances, the patients either become critical or get inevitable fate of beyond cure… thousands of patients are being denied admission in the government run hospitals on account of lack of infrastructures and acute shortages of manpower and those patients are forced to create a debt or sell their assets to access healthcare from private hospitals by paying exorbitant cost of the treatment."
They urged the court to pass directions to fill up the sanctioned vacancies on an urgent basis. It also sought to strengthen the recruitment process by replacing the present time taking bureaucratic process so as to quickly fill up the posts of doctors and paramedical staff as soon as it gets vacant, reports Live Law.
However, the CGSC Anil Soni opposed this point, saying that the recruitment process pertains to service matter and involves policy decision.
The plea also stated that the Centre Government and Delhi Government had also not constituted any committee or commission to look into the aspects in areas of omission which led to deaths of innocent citizens of NCT of Delhi and the responsible person are still enjoying their job without being held accountable to the social crime of not being able to provide the innocent citizens of the state bare minimum requirement the availability of doctors in the government hospitals.
It is submitted in the petition that private hospitals are taking illegal advantage of the plight of helpless patients. There are several cases where the doctors of the government hospitals are referring the patient to the private hospitals, citing the lack of infrastructure in the government hospitals, said the plea.
The plea stated that it is evident that the government hospitals are completely ill-equipped to tackle the recent epidemic of coronavirus which is threatening to engulf the whole population, even the protective mask and sanitisers are being black marketed across the city of Delhi and are being made available at prohibiting and exorbitant prices.
The plea further stated that the government is completely insensitive to the growing requirement of quality medical services which can be reflected from the RTI reply.
"The common people are suffering on account of the non-availability of doctors or paramedical staff who are integral in providing better treatment to the patients. There is a complete lack of accountability in providing crucial services like the right to life. As such it is urgently required that holistic infrastructural overhaul is necessary to improve better medical services to the patients," read the plea.
The court however did not notice issue to another request in the plea, which sought the creation of broad-based commission comprising of retired High Court Judge along with a team of senior most doctors to enquire into the Covid-19 deaths in government run hospitals across Delhi.
The bench doubt response of all the respondents through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital, and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and slated the matter for January 12, 2022.