Delhi L-G orders ACB probe into registration of nursing homes after hospital fire tragedy

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Delhi Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena on Tuesday ordered a comprehensive probe by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) into the registration of nursing homes in the national capital after seven newborns were killed in a massive fire at a children’s hospital on Saturday night.

As per the police, the licence issued to the Baby Care New Born Child Hospital in Vivek Vihar by the Delhi Government Health Services (DGHS) expired on March 31. Also, the doctors at the hospital were not qualified/competent to treat the newborns in need of neonatal intensive care as they were just BAMS degree holders.

In his note to the Chief Secretary, L-G Saxena said, “I have taken a very stern view in the matter. Though this is a transferred subject, in a larger public interest, I am forced to step in on account of the lack of seriousness on the part of the authorities entrusted with these responsibilities.”

The ACB probe will assess how many nursing homes are functioning without valid registrations and whether those having valid registrations are complying with the prescribed norms as provided under the Delhi Nursing Homes Registration Act, 1953, and the rules made thereunder.

Pointing out that the incident put a serious question mark on ministerial responsibility in a matter directly related to the health and lives of the residents of Delhi, the L-G said, “Even after a tragedy of this magnitude, which should have stirred the conscience of the political leadership, I am disappointed that the Chief Minister and Ministers have paid only lip service and given sound bites, finding alibis and shirking responsibility. Administration cannot be run on social media, nor by brushing such serious matters under the carpet.”

“I am given to understand that there are 1,190 nursing homes, of which more than a quarter are operating without valid registrations. Also, there are many nursing homes in the city which never applied for registration but are still operating. Even those nursing homes which have valid registrations may not be meeting the safety and regulatory standards as prescribed in the Delhi Nursing Homes Registration Act, 1953, and the rules made thereunder,” the L-G said.

“The very existence of such nursing homes that serve the poor and not so well off sections of the society speaks volumes on the larger issue of severe lack of public health infrastructure in the national capital as well. This is a larger issue which has been left neglected, contrary to the claims in the public domain,” he added.

As per the L-G, the ACB is directed to undertake a comprehensive inquiry into the registration of nursing homes in the city to assess how many of them are functioning without valid documents.

The L-G also directed the Chief Secretary to advise all the district magistrates to get a field verification done of their respective areas within two weeks to ascertain the actual number of functional nursing homes, which can then be compared to the list of the Health Department.

“It has also come to my notice that even in this day and age, the registration procedure for nursing homes in Delhi is conducted manually, which leaves a lot of room for discretion, ambiguity, and corruption. The Chief Secretary may accordingly ensure that an online portal is made operational with all data of compliances, registration, and validity, which is open for public scrutiny,” the L-G said.

–IANS

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