New Delhi: Nearly one hundred patients, citizens and members of civil society gathered outside Rajghat, Delhi to hold a Patients’ Rights Satyagraha today. The group proceeded to the Delhi Secretariat, where a delegation met with the Hon’ble Minister of Health Shri Satyendar Jain. The group appreciated the Delhi governments’ commitment to pro-people policies, especially in the field of health.
The major demands of the group were:
- Implementation of the Patients’ Rights Charter in all hospitals immediately.
- Implementation of the Delhi Governments’ draft advisory (May 2018) to regulate profiteering by private hospitals.
- Inclusion of Health Rights and Patients’ Rights groups in the drafting of the Delhi Health Bill to ensure provisions for patients’ rights, grievance redressal, accountability, and institutional civil society participation.
They urged the Hon’ble Minister of Health to issue guidelines for all hospitals, including private hospitals in Delhi to display and ensure implementation of this Charter of Patients’ Rights at the earliest. Widely publicising the Charter would enable ordinary citizens to dialogue with various hospitals and ensure that they do not violate basic patients’ rights.
The group also pressed the Hon’ble Health Minister to implement the draft advisory developed by Delhi government last year (May 2018) to regulate profiteering by private hospitals. This included the positive proposal of capping the profit margins that could be charged by hospitals on consumables and disposables – allowing maximum of 50% mark up to be charged on non-NLEM drugs, and limit of 35% additional charges on implants. The advisory also has other important provisions, such as transparency of rates for packages given by hospitals, and hospitals not being allowed to compel patients to buy medicines only from their in-house pharmacy. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority in a report published in 2017-18 has clearly mentioned that the private hospitals charge exorbitant margins amounting to more than 1700%.
The group submitted that these provisions need to be incorporated under the Delhi Health Bill which is at present being drafted by the Delhi government. Such a pioneering measure would bring major relief to lakhs of patients and families in Delhi, who suffer from gross overcharging and exploitation by private hospitals.
The Satyagrah was organised by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, All India Patient Rights Group, Mahila Pragati Manch, People for Better Treatment, Delhi Network of Positive People India, National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR), Health Watch Forum Uttar Pradesh, Campaign for Dignified and Affordable Healthcare, National Campaign for Right to Public Health, Swasthya Adhikar Manch Madhya Pradesh, Save me Foundation, New Delhi