NHRC notice to Centre, Delhi govt on issue related to medical care of contractual docs, staff

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New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) The NHRC has issued notices to the Union health ministry and the Delhi government over alleged non-provision of any financial or insurance cover to the contractual doctors and para-medical staff engaged in COVID-19 duties, officials said on Wednesday.

The commission, in a statement, observed that it is a serious issue, if the contractual doctors, resident doctors and paramedical staff of the Delhi government and other central government hospitals are not getting life-care medical facilities when they fall ill during their service to save lives of people during such a pandemic situation.

The NHRC, on the basis of a complaint, has asked the Union health ministry and the government of Delhi to consider providing adequate medical care and financial protection to all the contractual medical and paramedical staff deployed by the centre or state governments to serve the patients, it said.

This may include getting medical insurance to facilitate their treatment in private hospitals in these testing times, the statement said.

Issuing the notices to the secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the chief secretary, government of Delhi, the commission has asked them to submit an action taken report in two weeks, the rights panel said.

They have also been asked to take immediate steps to provide adequate financial and other support to COVID-19-infected Amit Gupta, senior resident, pediatrics of Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra Hospital, Delhi, who is admitted in the ICU of the Medanta hospital, Gurgaon, and 'not getting any financial support from the government on the ground that he was engaged on contract basis', it added.

At present, the country is already facing huge crisis of medical facilities and loss of lives too, it observed.

It has further observed that 'it should not be forgotten that hospitals, beds, medicines and oxygen etc. may be arranged, but not the medical and paramedical staff to work on the ground level'.

'On one hand, the welfare state of the country has provided a medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh to each of the poor family, under Ayushman Bharat Scheme and other such schemes; even casual labourers are covered under ESIC scheme, but on the other hand our Corona warriors, i.e. the contractual medical and paramedical staff are constrained to work without any medical insurance or care to fight with the pandemic,' the statement said.

The complainant alleged that Gupta got infected with COVID- 19, and he was shifted to Maharaja Agrasen Hospital as he could not get a bed in his hospital. However, there too, his condition deteriorated, and now he is undergoing treatment at Medanta hospital, the rights panel said.

Allegedly, the contractual doctors, resident doctors and paramedical staff in the AIIMS are getting benefits of the EHS (Employees Health Services) but the contractual doctors, resident doctors and paramedical staff of the Delhi government, and other central government-run hospitals are 'not getting the similar facilities,' the statement said.

The Delhi government is paying an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to the next of kin of 'corona warriors', in case of death, but not taking care while they are falling sick during the course of their public duties, it said. PTI KND RHL