The Delhi High Court on March 12, 2019, issued notice to the Delhi government’s directorate general of health services (DGHS) seeking their response on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for setting up of a mechanism to help the public lodge complaints or raise grievances against private hospitals and private nursing homes.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon
and Justice A.J. Bhambani
was hearing a plea filed by NGO Legal Forum for Women Empowerment, through its president Payal Bahl, an advocate. In the plea, it was alleged that the authority does not keep tabs on the services provided and prices charged by the private nursing homes and hospitals.
Further, it was also alleged that DGHS “has no mechanism to maintain records of the public complaints and grievances against any malpractices such as overcharging by private nursing homes and hospitals.” Apart from setting up a mechanism for lodging complaints and raising grievances against such private entities, the petition also sought that there should be an audit of the health services and prices charged by such establishments. Moreover, the plea also urged the court to direct the DGHS to devise a policy or issue a notification for bringing uniformity in prices charged for services provided by private nursing homes and hospitals to patients. Presently, there is no set mechanism to seek redressal in case the private hospital or nursing home overcharges patients for their services. A complaint can be filed with the consumer court or the aggrieved party can either write to the state or Central Health Ministry which generally leads them to move from pillar to post without any justice. This necessitates the establishment of a proper mechanism to help the public lodge their complaints against private hospitals and private nursing homes. The matter is posted for further hearing on May 14, 2019.