The Delhi government has constituted boards in seven state-run hospitals across the capital to provide assistance to Persons with Disabilities (PWD), with “high support” needs. The board will be headed by the medical superintendent of the hospitals, members from the district social welfare department and a few specialists.
As per the notifications issued by the Law Ministry, “high support” means intensive support— physical, psychological and/or otherwise— which may be required by a person with a benchmark disability for daily activities, in order to take independent and informed decisions to access facilities and participating in all areas of life including education, employment, family, community life, treatment and therapy.
The hospitals chosen by the Delhi government are Guru Teg Bahadur, Govind Ballabh Pant, Lok Nayak, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Janakpuri Super Speciality Hospital and Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS).“The idea is to make the hospitals disabled-friendly by creating infrastructure like ramps, toilet railings and special lifts. Though we have created ramps and lifts in our hospital, the government is also focussed on creating a Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR),” said Dr Sunil Kumar, Medical Director, GTB hospital.
The board will have five rehabilitation specialists, and one specialist each from ENT, orthopaedic, ophthalmology, and pediatric department.
In a meeting held last month, social welfare and health department officials discussed the problems faced by disabled persons due to non-issuance of disability certificates. The officials also pointed out that persons with disabilities face many issues while applying for the disability certificate and UDID cards.
“In respect of non-availability of specialist doctors in designated hospitals, it was decided that hospitals may refer the patient to a private healthcare setup… On receiving the required reports from the private healthcare facility, the certificate would be issued by the government hospitals. They would bear the expenses at the private hospitals through the Delhi Arogya Kosh,” the government stated in its statement.
A committee was also constituted with social welfare director as chairperson and doctors as members to keep checks and balances of the issuance of disability certificates and UDID cards. The committee was asked to submit its report in two weeks’ time. But, sources say, it has not met once since the orders were passed. “There’s confusion regarding the government’s plan… The ideas have been floated but not implemented,” said a senior doctor who ispart of the committee.