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Will the landmark Supreme Court judgment finally pave way for justice to the poor at NMMC Fortis hospital?

In a landmark judgment that could have far reaching impact on availability of medical services to poor across the nation, the Supreme Court this week ordered 40 private, state-of-the-art multi-specialty hospitals in Delhi to give free medical treatment to poor patients. The big question is whether this will pave way for justice to the poor at NMMC Fortis Hospital too?

Letting out more than half of the poor man’s hospital to Hiranandani Fortis is turning out to be one the biggest mistake of NMMC. In the name of super specialty, NMMC entered into an agreement with Hiranandani Fortis to privately use the public hospital so long as NMMC got 10% reservation in the beds at the hospital. What could be more unfortunate than the Mayor of NMMC Sagar Naik himself accepting that they have made a huge mistake.

What makes the Fortis controversy more shameful is the stance taken by corporators of MCGM. It may be noted that the MCGM is facing a similar situation like Fortis at Andheri where Seven Hills – a private healthcare services company has leased a MCGM hospital but is refusing to given free medicines and consumables. However, corporators of MCGM have taken a stern stand against the high-handed attitude of Seven Hills and have called for cancellation of the agreement. Corporators have asked the MCGM administration to take over the hospital no matter what the legal consequences are. However, its unfortunate that in NMMC, neither the opposition nor the ruling front corporators bother to discuss this issue in any Standing Committee or General Body meeting, nor do they show the will to demand justice to the poor. And as the dilly-dallying continues; comes a landmark judgement that could finally pave way to ensure that the poor man gets justice at the poor man’s hospital encroached by Fortis. The Supreme Court this week ordered 40 private, state-of-the-art multi-specialty hospitals in Delhi to give free medical treatment to poor patients. The Supreme Court has categorically stated that this has to be followed by all private hospitals without any exception and for any disease or ailment. Post this order, it has become mandatory for private hospitals to reserve 10% of their inpatient department capacity and 25% of OPD for free treatment of poor patients. This new Supreme Court order, that has set a precedent for private hospitals across the country is nothing less than a weapon that has fallen in the laps of NMMC. The question is will the leadership in NMMC use this weapon against the high handed and stubborn stance of Fortis that refuses to listen even to Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik? Minister Ganesh Naik has been demanding absolutely free services to the poor in the 10% reservation policy but Fortis has been outright rejecting his demand. What’s ironical is that Fortis Hospital in Delhi has agreed to abide by the Supreme Court order but the same Fortis management denies justice to the poor. The same poor who are the owners of the poor man’s hospital, which Fortis is exploiting for commercial benefits.

Looks like the stars are working in favor of the poor. The landmark Supreme Court order making it mandatory for private hospitals in Delhi to give free medical treatment to poor patients has come with a all new hope. The only question is that “Now will the leadership in NMMC capitalize on the landmark judgment to ensure that the poor get free super specialty services at Fortis hospital under the 10% reservation scheme?” A million dollar question that only time with answer. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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