As the Union government came out with its budget proposals today, the Delhi High Court remarked that investment on health care by the Centre was “minimal” leading to “overworked” and fewer doctors in state-run facilities.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observations while hearing PILs on the issue of rise in violent attacks on doctors in government hospitals here.
The court observed that due to their insufficient numbers, the doctors were “overworked”, as a result of which they were not able to provide equal attention to all their patients.
“Only 0.3 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) was spent on health care. Government investment on health and education is minimal,” the bench said and added that this is one of the reasons behind many doctors going abroad to practice.
The court said it wants to assist the system “which is resisting” as the Centre has said that everything is fine and more doctors are not required.
The bench said that if more doctors were recruited, then OPDs can be run 24 hours in shifts and the doctors will have more energy and time to deal with patients individually. “However, experience shows that doctors are being overworked without any increase in their capacity or numbers,” the court said.
The bench asked the medical superintendent (MS) of Safdarjung Hospital, who was present in the court, to file a report on the department-wise number of doctors and the number of patients they have attended on February 5 and 12. The court said the figures would help to get to the root of the problem and it was essential to do so.