L-G orders investigation into nursing homes’ registration : The Tribune India

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Hospital fire

L-G orders investigation into nursing homes’ registration

Alleges mismanagement, criminal neglect

L-G orders investigation into nursing homes’ registration

The charred building of the neonatal hospital at Vivek Vihar in New Delhi. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MANAS RANJAN BHUI



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28

In the wake of the devastating fire at Baby Care New Born Hospital in Vivek Vihar that resulted in the death of seven newborns, Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) VK Saxena on Tuesday ordered an Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) investigation into the registration and regulation of the nursing homes in the city.

‘Lack of seriousness on part of authorities’

Though this is a transferred subject, in the larger public interest, I am forced to step in due to the lack of seriousness on the part of authorities entrusted with these responsibilities. — VK Saxena, Lieutenant- Governor

‘Health secy missing’

Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj penned a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Tuesday, alleging that the Health Secretary has been missing since the fire incident in East Delhi. “The L-G did not refrain from politics even in the wake of the tragic deaths,” he said.

This decision comes amid allegations of severe mismanagement, criminal neglect and complicity of government officials in the licensing and oversight of these healthcare facilities, according to Raj Niwas officials.

The ACB probe will assess how many nursing homes are operating without a valid registration and whether those with valid registration are complying with the prescribed norms under the Delhi Nursing Homes Registration Act, 1953, and its associated rules. “There are 1,190 nursing homes, of which more than a quarter are operating without a valid registration. Also, there are many nursing homes in the city which have never applied for a registration but are still operating,” the L-G said.

The investigation will also evaluate whether the Health Department conducted thorough site inspections before granting or renewing registrations and determine the involvement and negligence of Health Department officials in the registration process.

In his directive to the Chief Secretary (CS), Saxena said, “Though this is a transferred subject, in the larger public interest, I am forced to step in due to the lack of seriousness on the part of authorities entrusted with these responsibilities.”

Expressing concern, he remarked, “I am disappointed that the Chief Minister and Health Minister have paid only lip service and given sound bytes, finding alibis and shirking responsibility. The administration cannot be run on social media, nor by brushing such serious matters under the carpet.”

The L-G has also directed the CS to instruct all District Magistrates to conduct field verifications within two weeks to cross-check the actual number of functional nursing homes against Health Department records, thereby gauging the extent of regulatory violations.

Saxena highlighted the outdated manual registration process, which is susceptible to corruption and inefficiency. He has called for the implementation of an online portal to manage nursing home registrations, ensuring transparency and public accessibility to compliance data.

He also underlined the Delhi High Court’s repeated orders and a personal commitment from Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj in a 2019 contempt case. The Delhi Government has failed to implement the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010. The Delhi HC had earlier reprimanded the Health Minister and Health Secretary for their inaction, emphasising the urgent need for regulatory reform, he noted.

Saxena remarked on the alarming neglect of public health by the Delhi Government, stating, “It is shocking to note that in spite of giving a personal assurance in the HC, the Health Minister has chosen not to act on a matter of such public importance, even after nearly two months, risking contempt of court.”

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