HC unhappy over Centre’s response on number of doctors

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today expressed unhappiness over the Centre’s report on the issue of number of doctors in its hospitals here, saying it was “hopelessly insufficient”.

A bench of Delhi High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal expressed unhappiness over absence of any women in the 31-member GST council.
Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the medical superintendent (MS) of Safdarjung Hospital, which is under the central government, to file a report on the number of doctors who had attended to patients, department-wise, on two Mondays for this month.

On the issue of rise in violent attacks on doctors, the court asked the MS to file a separate report on the measures in place to protect the doctors and the paramedical staff.

It said the information should be filed directly to the court within a week and listed the matter for February 1.

“The affidavit filed by the Centre is hopelessly insufficient and does not give us a correct picture.

We have repeatedly asked the position on availability of doctors in hospitals maintained by them,” the bench said.

It expressed unhappiness over the issue that the central government’s counsel was not aware of the number of doctors registered with the Medical Council of India (MCI).

“You do not know how many doctors are registered with the MCI. You are only giving statistics to pull the wool over our eyes,” it remarked.

The oral observations came during the hearing of a plea initiated by the court on its own after perusing a report on the rise in violent attacks on doctors.

The court had on May 3 last year initiated the PIL based on the report that doctors in public hospitals were being subjected to extreme violence.

During the hearing, the court said it was concerned as to how many doctors were there in a particular field and not the total number of doctors, as informed by the Centre.

It said that since July 2017, it was asking the Centre to give the number of doctors working in its hospitals and sought to know the patients/doctors ratio as well as the patients/ other personnel ratio in the government hospitals here.

To this, Central Government Standing Counsel Ajay Digpaul said they have worked really hard on gathering the data.

The court also observed, “we want to know why doctors are running from this country” and asked the Centre if it was concerned why doctors were being beaten up.

Digpaul replied in affirmative and said “we are also concerned”.

The bench had earlier also expressed dissatisfaction with the Centre’s report that the number of doctors in its hospitals had seen a massive increase in the past 5 years, and asked when was the last recruitment done.

Stressing the need to provide security and better facilities to doctors and patients, the bench had asked the authorities about the number of cases they had lodged in this regard and also the prosecution carried out.