Corruption in public hospitals alarming

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Asha Parivar and Citizens for Healthy Lucknow initiative, have demanded a strong action against reported corruption and malpractices in public healthcare facilities in Lucknow. There are increasing numbers of reports of patients in government healthcare facilities being referred to private clinics for diagnostics or treatment when such facilities exist within government hospitals itself, or government doctors and other healthcare staff indulging in private practice or government healthcare staff not providing their services to people at appointed and designated duty hours.

"We take strong cognizance of the news published in The Times of India dated 29 August 2011 “Balrampur doctors taking money for tests” where despite availability of CT scan and blood profile tests in Balrampur Hospital, a patient (who died later) was reportedly forced to pay Rs 4400 to doctors. This is totally unacceptable and all those responsible should be brought to books" said the NAPM release.

The NAPM and Asha Parivar have reported two more cases where poor people seeking healthcare services from Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) were harassed to pay money, and were treated and cared for but not with dignity. The two cases are as follows:

Case 1: Jeeshan, 6-7 months boy, who lives in the Ismailganj slums behind RML Hospital (in Gomti Nagar), had abdominal problems with difficulty in passing stools. He was admitted in Paediatric Surgery department of CSMMU where the surgeon asked for a deposit of Rs 35,000 explaining that the better procedure ('durbeen vidhi' - laproscopic) will cost Rs 35,000 and the child will have fewer stitches. As we have mentioned the background of the child, despite all efforts, only Rs 20,000 could be deposited. After the operation on 30 May 2011 (with lots of stitches so probably the laproscopic technique was not used), it was told that Rs 20,000 deposit is spent on medicines already so the patient had to buy medicines and other supplies from outside CSMMU for another Rs 10,000. They were not giving the receipt, but when Asha Parivar volunteer Kiran Jaiswar insisted for the receipt, she was given the receipt of Arogya Enterprises with no serial number and details of expenditure - it just mentioned “medicines and disposables” of lumpsum amount of Rs 20,000. The patient Jeeshan, is discharged now and is back to his home in slums. The caretaker Kiran, testifies that the surgeon was very rude, insensitive and pressurizing for depositing the total of Rs 35,000. Only after intervention of a social worker the surgery could take place with deposit of only Rs 20,000 (but laproscopic technique was possibly not used as there were a large number of stitches).

Case II: A female patient, CHANDRAVATI, wife of late Babu (resident of Jamunipur, PHC Bharawan, Hardoi district) was admitted in surgical oncology department and operated in May 2011, and the surgical oncology department staff (Dr Vijay and Dr Shiva as told by the patient) was not letting her get discharged unless she deposits Rs 2,500. We are not clear why Rs 2,500 was asked but only when a social worker intervened, not only the patient was allowed to go back home but also the demand for depositing Rs 2,500 ended. The surgery of this patient took place on 20 April 2011. Asha Parivar volunteer Chunnilal and Dr Sandeep Pandey had donated blood for her. She had to spend Rs 20,000 for this surgery. Despite that she was asked to pay Rs 2500 more on a slip which the CSMMU gave her (the slip is preserved which we can show as evidence - details can be verified by her son Ram Asrey - 9651205581).

"We do believe that healthcare facilities such as CSMMU and Balrampur Hospital serve the need of majority of our population - particularly those who are most poor and least likely to access healthcare from other health facilities. It is not only about providing treatment but also ensuring the right to health and right to dignity guaranteed by our constitution. The clinical care wrapped in human warmth, sensitivity and compassion can make a huge difference" said NAPM activists. They added: "We appeal to authorities to recognize and protect a guaranteed constitutional right of a citizen to get healthcare with dignity - regardless whether she or he can afford it or not."

The NAPM release was signed by Dr Sandeep Pandey, Kiran Jaiswar, and Bobby Ramakant.


Published in:
Citizen News Service(CNS), India/Thailand
Wikio News, Africa