New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS): The Delhi High Court has formed a seven-member Committee to improve the accessibility of free medical treatment through government schemes in the hospitals of the national capital.
In response to the challenges faced by economically disadvantaged individuals seeking medical assistance, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula has directed both the Central and AAP government to simplify the procedures for accessing healthcare services offered by various health welfare schemes
The bench called for clear, prominently displayed instructions in accessible language, forms available in regional languages, and minimal document requirements, especially for medical emergencies.
“The procedure required for availing free medical treatment must be streamlined, including various surgeries, as well as surgeries for implants/devices and to put in place a single-window mechanism with designated nodal officers at each hospital in Delhi,” said the bench.
“The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare at both levels and MCD should establish revolving funds to support the ongoing expenses of patients suffering from chronic, rare, debilitating, or life-threatening diseases. These funds or grants should be promptly available in the respective hospitals based on demand,” the court said.
The court also stressed the need to simplify the procedure for obtaining financial assistance under various schemes, ensuring that the public can easily understand the process with minimal assistance.
The court also insisted that instructions for accessing financial assistance should be prominently displayed in clear, accessible language, with a focus on expeditious application processing.
“All necessary forms should be accessible in regional languages, and the requirement for accompanying documents should be minimal, considering the urgency of medical emergencies. Nodal officers should receive adequate sensitisation, recognising that individuals from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds may not readily possess all required documents, and suggesting viable alternatives,” said the court.
The court also emphasised that patients and their families should not be burdened with obtaining quotations from multiple vendors for drugs, medicines, or implants when applying for financial assistance.
The Court directed the Committee to propose a specific methodology that would enable patients from economically weaker sections of society to continue receiving treatment or medication until financial assistance is ultimately granted.
The Committee is set to be chaired by the Delhi government's Chief Secretary, with two members nominated by the Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, two members nominated by the Delhi government's Principal Secretary, one member nominated by the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and a senior officer from the National Informatics Centre nominated by its Director General
The Committee is tasked with providing a report with recommendations for implementing the court's directives before the next hearing scheduled for November 16.