Minister dismantles hospital panels, AAP volunteers walk in

Health Minister Satyendra Jain has issued orders to dismantle the existing hospital management societies Rogi Kalyan Samitis under the Centre's National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). And with Jain terming these societies as "defunct", AAP volunteers have now become the new " force" demanding accountability in hospitals.

Jain said, "We received a lot of complaints regarding corruption and malfunctioning of these samitis. So I decided to dismantle them. There was no point in continuing such a defunct body."

The samitis were chaired by the area MLA, and members included hospital administrations, doctors, civic society members and patients. They were seen as an interface between hospitals and people.

In the order on December 31 sent out by the mission director of the NRHM, the Delhi government had directed that Rogi Kalyan Samitis be dismantled. The order did not indicate any directions for reconstitution of the committees.

When asked about the project being a Central initiative, Jain said the government was still "considering its reconstitution".

The Health department is looking at starting Jan Swasthya Samitis which will act as an interface between health care providers and patients, and be devoid of "political interference." "These will begin at dispensaries and may be replicated in hospitals later," Jain said.

With the samitis gone, AAP volunteers have become a regular presence at many citiy hospitals, helping out with administration and conducting inspections.

A senior administrative officer at Bhagwan Mahavir hospital said, "AAP volunteers have a free run here and are becoming a parallel hospital administration. They have set up committees to manage hospital sanitation, cleaning of toilets and staff attendance. This has been done without any official orders."

A consultant in the gynaecology department of Lok Nayak hospital said, "All of last week, people with the AAP caps were entering the labour room screaming at doctors, and calling doctors outside in the middle of surgeries. They complained about delays in admission procedures, threatening with RTIs. Vigilance over hospitals is good, but interfering with work like this is becoming a hassle."

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