Delhi high court ordered for third-party audit of all Delhi government hospitals, starting with Janakpuri Super Speciality and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospitals. HC asked the Centre, through the cabinet secretary to examine if an expert panel can be set up to carry out the audit exercise.

“In these circumstances and having regard to the glaring deficiencies in the healthcare system in the two hospitals and related health care centres (both being super specialty hospitals) established at great public expense, with substantial annual grants — a large part of which appears to be unutilised — this court is of the opinion that the Government of NCT should take urgent steps to have both the hospitals and other such public medical institutions which are under its control (and are independently governed through governing councils, etc.), audited through a third party agency. The agency will point out the deficiencies and shortcomings and suggest remedial measures to ensure availability of clinical, diagnostic and full panoply of medical services that each hospital was designed to cater to,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg noted in the order.

It is pointed out that “acute shortage of staff in both hospitals has led to a woeful situation of the inadequacy of services to the general public who deserve it and for whom there is a crying need for such services. This has translated into both severe lack of access to cheap or free medical aid to the general public and scarcity of such public resources, though physical infrastructure has been created.”

 The court reminded both AAP government and the Centre that healthcare and right to wellness are an intrinsic and important component of the right to life. “The directive principle of state policy contained in Article 47 considers it the primary duty of the state to improve public health, securing of justice, humane condition of works, as well as an extension of sickness, old age, disablement and maternity benefits,” it added.
EDITOR OPINION – Such steps by honorable High Court towards Public Health is really required and also forces governments to draw attention towards the declining situation of Public Health. Medical Reporter expects more such strict decisions from the honorable court.