The Bombay High Court has asked the State government to encourage private doctors to assist in civil hospitals across the State by way of charity so that poor patients can benefit.
The government’s exercise of getting such doctors to serve at the Malegaon civil hospital in Nashik district should be followed as a model in other districts, it said. A Division Bench of Justices N.H. Patil and G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a PIL last week filed by a resident of Malegaon, alleging inaction on part of the Public Health Department and the local civic body in filling vacancies for doctors and assistant medical staff at the Malegaon civil hospital for years.
The petitioner, Rakesh Bhamare, cited replies to his Right to Information (RTI) queries to inform the court that authorities had failed to sanction and fill such vacancies since 2012.
Earlier this month, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted a report to the court showing work carried out by medical experts attached to the Malegaon civil hospital and doctors practising privately in June. As per the report, apart from three gynaecologists working with the hospital, 12 gynaecologists and as many anaesthetists working with private hospitals had also contributed there.
“The report is encouraging. It has informed that private doctors have shown their willingness to extend cooperation as and when required by the administration,” the court said. “We further expect the administration to encourage private doctors to get them involved in such an exercise, which would be a step in the larger public interest,” the Bench said.
“We expect the administration would continue the work in the same manner so that poor patients are benefited and this could be a model exercise to be followed in the rest of Maharashtra,” the court said.
The government should take necessary steps to protect all civil hospital premises in Maharashtra by putting up boundary walls, fencing and by appointing agencies to safeguard them, it said. The court asked Mr. Kumbhakoni to discuss the issue with the secretary of the department concerned and take necessary steps.
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