Despite Govt guidelines, private hospitals, nursing homes not entertaining patients

*Even refusing to attend emergency cases

Govind Sharma

JAMMU, Apr 30: While the Health Ministry has asked all the States/Union Territories to ensure assured and uninterrupted emergency health services to the patients, majority of the private hospitals/nursing homes in Jammu province are refusing to attend even emergency cases like delivery, blood transfusion, dialysis etc.
In last one week, Excelsior received several distressed calls not only from various parts of Jammu district but also from Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Doda, Reasi and other districts with people alleging that private hospitals/nursing homes/clinics have either been closed or are refusing to attend patients.
People also alleged that private hospitals and nursing homes equipped with dialysis machines and having functional dialysis units are denying MHD (Maintenance Haemodialysis) services to patients of ESRD and have been compelling patients to provide COVID-19 negative test reports before they are taken up for dialysis in their facilities. As a result, they said, patients aren’t being dialyzed leading to life threatening consequences.
Vijay Kumar of Bohri said that her octogenarian father is on dialysis for last over one year and he was getting dialyzed in a reputed private hospital of the city but now the hospital is not entertaining them. “Last Monday, when I took my father for routine dialysis, they refused to attend him and told us to come with COVID-19 negative test report or go to Government hospital for dialysis,” Kumar added.
“My father suffered a severe kidney stone pain late last night which was unbearable. As we were already seeking treatment from a private nursing home located in the vicinity of our home, we decided to go there but to our utter disappointment, they refused to attend to my ailing father,” Ajit Singh of Sainik Colony said.
They told us to come in the morning and that too after getting conducted COVID-19 test otherwise no doctor of their nursing home will attend to the patient, Ajit alleged.
One Jagdish Raj of Shastri Nagar said that her wife had a labour pain two days back and when he took her to a renowned nursing home in their vicinity where she was being examined by a doctor from very 1st month of her pregnancy, they were asked to go to some Government Hospital.
“The Hospital is closed for all type of cases. The doctors and paramedics are not coming, so, it is better to take your patient to Government Hospital as barely you will find a doctor in any private clinic during this COVID-19 crisis,” a lady told us at Reception Counter of the nursing home,” said Jagdish.
Such reports also came from Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri and other districts of the region with people complaining denial of even essential medical services by the private nursing homes on account of fear of contracting COVID-19.
Expressing anguish over denial of emergency medical services, people said while Government is time and again claiming that non-COVID essential services are being provided with impunity in Government as well as private hospitals/nursinghomes/clinics and instructions have been issued to all the chief secretaries to ensure non-COVID-19 essential health services like dialysis, chemotherapy, delivery cases, blood transfusion, etc but nobody is adhering to the Government directives and patients suffering with non-COVID diseases are affected badly.
“Despite Government instructions, Private hospitals/nursing homes are turning away even patients in need of emergency medical services due to fear of COVID-19 but J&K Government has not even issued any helpline number to register complaints against these private hospitals/nursing home while many States of the country have already taken this initiative,” they regretted and appealed the Governor administration to immediately issue helpline numbers for registration of such complaints.
When contacted, Financial Commissioner (FC), Health and Medical Education, J&K, Atal Dulloo, said there were several issues of private hospitals/nursing homes like difficulty of their staff movement which was redressed with issuance of passes but still they are getting complaints from various channels that many private hospitals are either closed or are refusing medical care to the needy.
“We have already issued instructions that no hospital can refuse essential medical services like dialysis, chemotherapy, accidental cases, delivery cases, etc but several private hospitals/nursing homes are not obeying the instructions, forcing us to take harsh actions,” the FC said, adding they are already working to set up a mechanism to register complaints against erring hospitals/nursing homes and within a few days it will be out.