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Is NMMC losing public trust and faith for failure to do justice to the poor at Fortis hospital? NMTV Justice for the poor report

The NMMC Fortis failure in implementation of 10% reservation policy continues. And guess who is not happy? It is the citizens of Navi Mumbai who are now publicly accusing NMMC of handling the issue in a rather sloppy and slow manner. Experts back the opinion of the public who are losing faith and trust in NMMC. They question that when NMMC is aware that the poor is not getting their dues from the controversial Hirananandi Fortis tie – why is NMMC not throwing Fortis out of the poor man’s hospital and challenge them in court? Dy Editor Sana Warsia gets talking with the public and experts for more.

Even as talks between NMMC and Fortis for implementation of the 10% reservation policy have entered its second year; has come a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court. All private hospitals, that have built hospital on subsidized government land in Delhi, have been ordered to provide free treatment to the poor. While asking the city hospitals to reserve 25% of their out-patient department capacity and 10% of beds at the indoor level for free treatment of the poor, the Supreme Court said that the hospitals cannot “wriggle out” of their responsibility to treat the poor free of cost. The Supreme Court said “The bottom line is that the poor patients are not to be charged.” There were 37 hospitals, which were granted land by the government at concessional rates. When private hospitals pleaded that the treatment of diseases like cancer, neuro surgery and plastic surgery are costly and cannot be provided free of cost, the Supreme Court said that “Why did you (hospitals) take the land? You hand over the land to the government and purchase it somewhere else.” the bench remarked when the counsel appearing for the hospitals. In its final order, the Supreme Court said “They (poor patients) will be provided free admission, bed, medication, treatment, surgery facility, nursing facility and consumables and non-consumables. The hospitals charging any money from such patients shall be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with the law.” This Supreme Court judgment has come for hospitals who have taken land on subsidized rates from government, while in Navi Mumbai Fortis has not even purchased land but is sitting inside a poor man’s hospital and commercially exploiting it. It’s been two years since Fortis – one of the so-called reputed hospitals has been fooling the poor people while NMMC is failing miserably to implement 10% reservation policy for the poor. At NMMC, the Mayor had no convincing replies for the delay even though there is a powerful Supreme Court order for the poor now. All he could say was that they are trying their level best.

This is not the first time that NMMC is assuring justice to the poor in the tie up with Hiranandani Fortis. Perhaps that is why; now Navi Mumbaikars are beginning to lose faith and trust in NMMC assurances. Those who have had the Fortis experience say that the hospital is not for the poor. Citizens have reasons to believe that the Supreme Court order will do little benefit to the poor in the case of Fortis. Citizens say that the solution to Fortis adamancy and stubbornness is simple : they should be thrown out of the poor man’s hospital.

Though NMMC gives the excuse of legal limitations for not terminating the contract with Fortis, legal experts have another opinion. Eminent lawyer Rahul Thakur agrees with the public outrage and anger. He goes on to say that the state of affairs in NMMC Hospital are shocking to say the least.

He said that the NMMC FRU has become First Referral Unit; referring patients to private hospitals. According to Rahul Thakur, what NMMC lacks is the will. If there was the least doubt that NMMC might lose a legal battle against Fortis in court; the Supreme Court order has completely erased them. Its time NMMC took a tough stand of sealing Fortis if they refuse the poor their right of completely free super specialty treatment under the 10% reservation policy. Now with the public openly criticizing the way NMMC is handling the issue, the million dollar question is will NMMC dare to stand up for the poor? With bureau report – NMTV News.

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