• Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:44 am

HC: Govt should monitor private hospitals to curb irregularities

  • Published at 08:40 pm July 22nd, 2020
High Court-SC-court
File photo of the Bangladesh Supreme Court Dhaka Tribune

Earlier on July 6, the High Court directed that an inquiry be conducted on the reported allegations against some of the private and government hospitals regarding denial of treatment to patients

The High Court on Wednesday observed that the government should monitor private hospitals so that they do not get beyond control and cannot scam patients.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim made the observation at a virtual hearing following the submission of a report before it by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The report was submitted in the wake of the filing of five separate writ petitions seeking necessary orders to ensure treatment of patients at all hospitals across the country.

Barrister AKM Ehsanur Rahman, Barrister Aneek R Haque, Barrister Mahfuzur Rahman Milon, Advocate Yeadia Zaman, Advocate Nazmul Huda, Barrister Mehedi Hasan and Advocate Jamiul Haque Faisal joined the virtual hearing for the petitions while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder, represented the state.

At the beginning of the hearing, the attorney general informed the court that many countries were refusing to let Bangladeshi workers in due to the Covid-19 test report scam at JKG and Regent Hospital. 

In response, the court said that Shahabuddin Medical College Hospital had no license and the owners of this hospital reportedly had a meeting with the home minister after the law enforcers raided the hospital over irregularities.

The court, during the hearing, also mentioned Advocate Yeadia Zaman’s writ petition regarding private hospitals’ failure to provide salaries to their employees and doctors.

The court asked the government to look into the matter and take all necessary steps against the irregularities and mismanagement at these hospitals.

At one stage of the hearing, the attorney general sought time from the court to submit a compliance report on its July 6 directives.

Responding to the attorney general, the High Court granted time and asked the government to submit the compliance report by August 16.

Meanwhile, the bench further observed that a few magistrates of mobile courts were found talking to the media, trying to justify their actions although their duties were to conduct mobile courts on specific allegations.

DGHS’s report

Following the court’s order, the DGHS submitted a compliance report to the High Court through the attorney general’s office, saying that two monitoring teams were in place for Dhaka city for taking necessary measures against allegations of irregularities and misconduct in hospitals. 

“Besides, a four-member committee headed by the divisional director (health)/civil surgeon has been formed in every divisional city/district to probe the accusations against the hospitals,” said the report. 

The DGHS also informed the court about the introduction of an email address – [email protected] – for receiving complaints of people being deprived of treatment at both government and private hospitals, adding that it would soon notify the court about the fixing of prices of oxygen cylinders.

“The DGHS has sent letters to the authorities concerned of the private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres to take priority-based measures for patients suffering from coronavirus and other serious illnesses,” added the report.

The report submitted also included information on the different initiatives taken by the DGHS against different hospitals over their illegal activities. 

Earlier on July 6, the High Court directed that an inquiry be conducted on the reported allegations against some of the private and government hospitals regarding denial of treatment to patients.

The court also issued four other directives to the authorities along. The inquiry report is to be submitted before it by July 21.

On July 2, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) submitted a compliance report to the same bench where it said that no complaints against any hospitals across the country had been submitted regarding the denial of treatment to Covid-19 patients and to those with other complications.

The report also mentioned that if any complaint against any government or private hospital was received alleging that it had refused to provide treatment, strict action would be taken against the authorities of the hospital. 

According to the lawyers for the state, the government has directed the authorities concerned to fix and display the retail and refilling prices of oxygen cylinders at outlets and shops so that the customers are not charged extra. 

On June 16, the Supreme Court upheld three High Court directives while staying seven issued earlier over incidents of hospitals denying treatment to any potential patient amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

On June 15, the bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim, in response to five separate writ petitions, observed that no patients, regardless of whether they were infected with Covid-19 or not, could be deprived of treatment at any hospital, both government and private.

The High Court also directed the government to take appropriate legal action against those who were negligent in providing treatment to patients during this time of crisis.

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