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Covid-19: Intervention Plea in SC Seeks Transparency Over Hospital Beds, Oxygen, and Essential Drug Availability

Transparency Over Hospital Beds Oxygen Essential Drug

An intervention has been lodged before the Supreme Court in a pending Suo motu case concerning the fair allocation of vital resources, including oxygen, during the pandemic, requesting clarity in the distribution of such essential supplies and services. 

Activist Anjali Bhardwaj filed the intervention, which emphasises the need for confirmed, up-to-date details on bed availability and oxygen delivery, especially during the ongoing COVID pandemic.

According to the petition, several patients have died as a result of their failure to obtain a hospital bed or oxygen service in a timely fashion, and there have been many accounts of people dying outside hospitals while waiting for beds or while rushing from one hospital to another looking for beds. In this context, it is urged that if both the Central and State Governments regularly publish information on the availability of these necessities for each COVID designated hospital, people will be able to obtain prompt and appropriate medical care.

The following is stated in the plea “It is crucial that credible, accurate and up-to-date information about the availability and utilisationof hospital beds, oxygen supply and essential drugs be made available in the public domain. Availability of this information will not only help COVID affected patients and their families inlocating life-saving resources in a timely manner, but will also prevent black marketing, hoarding,extortion and cornering of resources by vested interests by enabling public monitoring.”

It is strongly recommended that information be proactively disclosed in the public domain by the relevant authority, in both online and offline formats, and in the most open way, manner, and language possible.

Anjali Bhardwaj, the applicant, is represented by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, and the applicant proposed the following:

  • Data on hospital-specific bed availability must be posted every eight hours, and websites must not need any user credentials to access this information.
  • The display boards outside hospitals must be located in an area where the public can clearly see them.
  • The criterion used by hospitals to assess eligibility for entry, if any, must be posted on notice boards outside the hospital as well as on the hospital's website.
  • Every hospital's information about the supply of critical medicines must be revised every twelve hours.

The Central Government shall provide information about the supply of oxygen to states on a dedicated website, including the amount of oxygen needed by each state, the date and time the requirement was made, and the quantity of oxygen supplied, including the date and time of supply.

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