Delhi govt hospitals suffer ‘Acute Crisis’ of free medicines: Minister

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Mohalla Clinic

Delhi health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj has directed the chief secretary Naresh Kumar to personally visit one government hospital and Mohalla Clinic every day and get firsthand feedback on “scarcity” of medicines and consumables.

Delhi minister said that the ground reports “unequivocally indicate” a “distressing scarcity” of free medicines while it has been asserted by the chief secretary and health secretary that every patient is receiving all essential medications or their suitable alternatives, the minister said.

In an official note, Mr Bharadwaj said, “to get a firsthand and true experience with respect to shortage of essential medicines and consumables in hospitals, it is directed that instead of taking shield of different rule positions, the chief secretary should personally visit one Delhi government hospital and one Mohalla Clinic during OPD (outdoor patient departments) hours- 8.00 AM to 2.00 PM”. He also asked to furnish daily reports.

The health minister has said in the note, dated April 12, that the chief secretary and the health secretary have “blatantly misled” both the government and the legislative assembly regarding the availability of medicines.

The minister has directed the chief secretary to interact with patients and their attendants in the waiting area near pharmacy counters and enquire from them whether medicines prescribed by hospital doctors have been provided or not. He has also asked chief secretary to share the daily roster for the next two weeks and send a daily report about the situation to him in a specific format.

“The chief secretary and the health secretary should explain why they have misled the undersigned (health minister) as well as the legislative assembly of Delhi by providing misleading report,” Bharadwaj said in the note. He claimed that as an afterthought, the chief secretary made a “frivolous excuse” that all routine files of departments are not routed through him so he cannot supervise the availability of medicines and consumables.