In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a non-profit organisation has written to the Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, demanding that private clinical establishments declared as covid care hospitals be asked to proactively disclose information on the lines of suo motu disclosure envisaged under the RTI Act for public authorities.
The organisation ‘Sabka Mangal Ho’ stated Section 4 of the RTI Act saying, “where information sought for concerns the life of or liberty of a person, same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of receipt of the request,” in the letter. They have asked information including money to be charged by clinical establishments, particulars of the organisation, powers and duties of officers, channels of supervision and accountability, particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with or representation by, the members of public in relation to formulation of its policy or implementation of it, to be made public via government health websites.
The letter further stated that as per Haryana Clinical Establishments rules of 2018, the department of health and welfare possesses the power to access “every kind of information from clinical establishments in connection with standard of healthcare and emergency medical condition and the clinical establishments have corresponding legal obligation to provide such information.
“The right to health is a fundamental right as per the Supreme Court ruling. It is also human right. But there are reports from different cities of Haryana where accounts of people suffering from minor symptoms of common cold / breathing / fever are treated as a patient of coronavirus and are turned away by private hospitals. In such a situation, we have written to Health Minister and Chief Secretary of Health Services, to make instructions given to private hospitals public,” said chairman of the organisation, Advocate Pradeep Rapadia.
He added that if the Health Department does not make the information public for the people within 48 hours, then the Information Commission itself should take cognizance of the matter. If the Health Department and the Information Commission do not understand the seriousness of the matter, then the organisation will consider approaching the High Court.
The demand has come following a report published by The Indian Express which enumerated an incident from Panchkula where a patient who was refused admission by a private hospital of Panchkula later passed away.
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