The Manipur High Court has ordered the State Government to take appropriate punitive action against hospitals and medical establishments that refuse to treat patients who require emergency medical care due to serious illness or accidents on the grounds that COVID-19 patients are given priority.
Even though the Government has issued an order instructing all Government and private hospitals to ensure that all patients who arrive at their facilities are treated promptly, the order has not been implemented, according to a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin Singh.
"It is therefore made clear that, in the event that any violation of the afforested orders is brought to the State Government's attention, the State Government shall take appropriate punitive action against the erring hospital/medical establishment in accordance with due procedure, irrespective of the identity of the party who brings such violation to its attention," the Bench ordered.
In another COVID-related PIL, the Bench emphasised the importance of a long-term strategy for dealing with any future waves.
"To meet the challenges of a possible future wave of the pandemic, the state government must develop an action plan. It is not enough for the state government to respond by taking measures after the fact; it must also equip itself in order to be prepared for any future challenges", it remarked.
The Bench also spent a lot of time discussing the issue of Manipur's oxygen supply. It has asked the federal government to investigate an alleged oxygen cylinder shortage in the state. It is incumbent on the Central Government to investigate this matter, as only 2691 oxygen cylinders have been provided to the state of Manipur, which has a population of over 33 lakh people, according to the report. In terms of oxygen supplies, the State Government has been asked to prepare, update, and publish in tabulated form data indicating hospital-by-hospital number of beds, number of ICU beds, number of currently admitted patients, current oxygen cylinder requirement, and so on in respect of all Government and private hospitals.
A report on the management of COVID care centres, as well as the status of surprise visits and random inspections, is also requested, "The State Government's additional affidavit will also address how the 24 COVID Care Centres that have been established across the State are being monitored. Mr. Lenin Hijam, learned Additional Advocate General of Manipur, asserts that the Chief Medical Officers of the respective Districts where these Centres are located have formed teams to visit and check the operation and functioning of the Centres on a random basis. Details will be provided in this regard "as stated in the order. The date for the next hearing has been set for June 15, 2021.