Delhi HC stresses urgent need to address overcrowding in govt hospital emergency wards

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has observed the critical need to address overcrowding in the emergency wards of government hospitals here to ensure prompt medical assistance for critical patients.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna was hearing a suo motu PIL, initiated in 2017, which was prompted by a news report highlighting the lack of self-defence training for AIIMS doctors.

The bench stressed the importance of upgrading and enhancing overall infrastructure facilities in the government hospitals, particularly in emergency wards.

The court noted that the initial hours when critical patients are brought to hospitals are crucial, often referred to as the “golden hours”, which can make a significant difference between life and death.

It called for urgent measures to augment space, medical facilities, the number of doctors, and medical equipment in emergency wards to meet the needs of patients requiring critical care.

While directing the Centre to undertake improvements in the infrastructure of hospitals under its control, the court also instructed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to enhance medical facilities in its hospitals, with a specific focus on upgrading emergency ward infrastructure.

The court directed both the Central and Delhi governments to file their affidavits in the matter within 12 weeks.

Now the matter will be heard next on March 13, 2024.

Last time, the court had directed the Centre to initiate efforts for the enhancement of infrastructure in hospitals under its control in the national capital.

The bench had also instructed the Delhi government to submit an action taken report on the implementation of recommendations from an expert committee tasked with improving operational standards and treatment methodologies in the government hospitals.

During the hearing, Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal had said that the matter encompasses a broad spectrum, requiring an evaluation of the entire healthcare system, particularly in the government hospitals.

The court, addressing concerns related to safety and security of medical specialists, violence faced by them, and the shortage of healthcare experts in public hospitals, had stressed on the need for a comprehensive view of the healthcare delivery system.

The court had urged both the Union and Delhi governments to undertake necessary improvements in hospital infrastructure, considering the holistic aspect of healthcare delivery.



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