Tue, 13 Apr 2021

New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that elderly people should be given priority in admissions in all private hospitals along with government hospitals considering their vulnerability to COVID-19.

SC directs private hospitals to give priority to the elderly in admissions amid a pandemic.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan modified its August 4, 2020 order where it had directed only government hospitals to give priority in the admission of elderly people.

The order came after former Union minister Ashwani Kumar filed a petition to the apex court stating that the elderly are getting priority in government hospitals after the order on the same but they should be given priority in private hospitals as well.

"Dr Ashwani Kumar, the petitioner in person, submits that in an order dated August 8, 2020, this Court directed that priority with reference to admission be given to the elderly people in the government hospitals only whereas priority in admission to the elderly people should be given in all private hospitals as well since it is mostly private hospitals which cater most of the population in the country.

We direct that the priority with reference to admission contemplated in an order dated August 8, 2020, to the elderly people should also be given in the private hospitals. List the matter after four weeks," the apex court stated in its order.

On August 4 last year, the apex court had said that looking at their vulnerability, the elderly should be given priority in admission in a government hospital and in the event of any complaint made by them, the hospital administration shall take immediate steps to remedy their grievances.

During the hearing, former minister and senior advocate Kumar told the Bench that except Odisha and Punjab no other state has given details about the steps taken in pursuance of the earlier directions issued by it on the issue.

The Bench thereafter granted three weeks time to all the states to respond to the fresh suggestions made by Kumar to provide relief to the elderly people.

"The petitioner in person submits that all the State governments have not yet filed their response in pursuance to the order dated September 7, 2020, passed by this Court. He submits that except Punjab and Odisha, no other State has given details of thesteps were taken by them," noted the bench.

"Dr Ashwani Kumar submits that all the State governments be directed to issue necessary MoP incorporating the directions issued by this Court regarding two Departments i.e. Health Department and Social Welfare Department.

He says that incorporating the directions in the MoP shall serve greater public interest and purpose. We grant three weeks' time to all the States to respond to the suggestion given by the petitioner in person," it added.

Last year, the apex court ordered that the governments had to respond promptly to the needs of senior citizens and ensure that they did not suffer financially during COVID-19. The elderly should get their regular pension and states should provide them necessary medicines, masks, sanitisers and other essential goods in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had ordered. (ANI)

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