The Delhi government’s move to cancel the license of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, following a case of shocking medical negligence, appears to have united the voices of many private hospital chains operating in the national capital.
The license of Shalimar Bagh unit of Max Hospital was cancelled after a newborn declared dead by the hospital.
The baby boy, who was 22 weeks premature, was declared dead by the hospital on November 30 and handed over to the parents in a plastic bag, along with his still-born sister.
However, the baby started moving while being taken for last rites. The baby was then admitted in North Delhi's Agarwal Nursing Home, but died on Wednesday.
The hospital’s license was cancelled on Friday, informed Delhi Health minister Satyendra Jain.
Also Read: Family of twins hails Delhi govt's decision to cancel Max hospital's license: 10 developments
Rattled by the move, the hospitals have united to voice their displeasure with the move, and targeted the government for what they see as an attack against them.
Private hospitals say they play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the need for healthcare services and their availability. Government spending in healthcare infrastructure is abysmally low, resulting in the low availability of healthcare services.
The government, argue private hospitals, should be supporting them serve patients better instead of regulating them excessively.
Top hospitals in the capital have rallied against the government’s decision to cancel Max’s license in what has been a case of extreme medical negligence.
"My personal belief is, this is a wrong move. Instead of giving enough notice, they just cancelled the licence," Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, managing director of Narayana Health, told Economic Times.
"What about patients who have to go for emergency services? We are holding the private sector so much accountable countable, why are the same standards not applied for the public sector?"
Raghuvanshi argues that the case cannot be termed a case of negligence and that it was an error that could have been taken up at various fora, including the Medical Council of India and consumer courts.
The Delhi government’s move has been met with opposition from Bhupindra Singh, chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), as well. "Cancellation of licence is no solution; but there is certainly a need for some creative disruption," he said in a tweet.
The IMA too has termed the cancellation of the license "too harsh a step". It backed the hospital and said if all hospitals start facing similar situations where patients die due to such mistakes, then healthcare will come to a halt.
IMA President KK Aggarwal, a cardiologist, said the government decision was "not in the interest of the society".
"I personally feel it was wrong. The government has taken a wrong decision... For a mistake that occurred at the level of a doctor, the licence of the hospital cannot be cancelled," he said.
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) also termed the city government's decision to cancel the license of Max Super Specialty Hospital in Shalimar Bagh as "irrational and autocratic".
The doctors' body said that the government should have waited for the report of the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) on the issue which is expected in a few days.
It said it will give a call for a strike if needed and will appeal to the government to revoke the license cancellation decision.
Echoing the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the DMA said that while the investigation against the doctors concerned was expected, the decision to cancel the hospital license was harsh.
"Cancelling the license and the decision to shut the entire hospital is irrational and autocratic. Private hospitals bear 80 per cent of the patient's burden in Delhi. Investigation against the concerned doctors or staff is expected but why should all other departments and the hospital suffer," DMA's Ashwini Goyal said.
Meanwhile, the city government, while announcing its decision had said that it was not against private hospitals, but negligence was not to be tolerated. Moreover, Delhi Health minister Jain said, the government had received many complaints against the hospital over other issues too and that the decision to cancel its license was completely justified.