Publicise contact details of Grievance Redressal Cells for people in each area

As we currently face the third wave of Covid-19 epidemic, given past experiences, the government needs to be extremely vigilant so that mistakes made previously are not repeated again. Against this backdrop, on the occasion of Republic Day 2022, based on participation of constituent organizations across the state Jan Arogya Abhiyan has drawn the attention of the Government to the following important issues, by submitting the following demands to Government of Maharashtra for “Strengthening Public Health Services and Regulation of Private Hospitals during COVID Third wave”.

1) Public hospitals must provide adequate treatment facilities for all COVID patients. Staff, beds, medicines, oxygen and other facilities should be increased in public health centres and hospitals as per projected requirements during the peak of Third wave.

2) Keeping in view experience of last two years, during the Covid wave care should be taken to ensure that other essential public health services e.g. maternal health care and deliveries, emergencies, dialysis, surgery are available in adequate form.

3) To ensure that corporate and large private hospitals do not overcharge compared to rates fixed by the State government for Covid treatment, the information on official rate control in private hospitals should be disseminated very widely and regularly through mass media – television, newspapers etc. The government should appoint auditors in all private hospitals having more than 30 beds, and caregivers of patients should be required to pay the bill only after auditing.

4) The new rules of the Maharashtra Nursing Home Registration Act (14 January 2021) stipulate the legal requirement to set up Grievance redressal cells for patients concerning all hospitals in rural and urban areas, however these have not yet been formed. The government should set up required Grievance redressal cells covering all Municipal corporations, Municipal councils and Districts to resolve any problems patients and their caregivers may face during treatment, especially in private hospitals.

5) The State Government should issue orders to all private and government hospitals to display complete information about the Patient Rights Charter and Grievance redressal mechanism prominently, and should regularly monitor implementation of this order to ensure universal compliance.

6) For protection of people’s health, health workers must be supported and protected. Urgent steps should be taken to ensure safe working conditions for frontline doctors, nurses, ASHAs and other health workers in the public health system. There should be no delay in paying full salaries and honorarium for all these employees. Also, all the vacancies in the public health system should be filled promptly within next 3 months by taking immediate steps to fill these vacant posts which have been unforgivably neglected in the last several years. The government should also take immediate steps to protect rights and prevent exploitation of health workers in the private healthcare sector.

7) Keeping in view the widespread gaps and inadequacies experienced in Maharashtra rural and urban areas during previous COVID situation, State budget for Public health services should be doubled in the coming year (2022-23) compared to the current year, and adequate funds should be made available from the beginning of the year accordingly.

To fulfill the basic human right to health, widespread changes are required today to ensure a people-centered health care system. Jan Arogya Abhiyan calls upon people to demand from people’s representatives and political leaders at all levels – from Gram Panchayats to Parliament – that they must take action on these demands. For attaining their basic right to health, now people need to teach a lesson to those representatives who fail in their essential role of protecting people’s health.

Jan Arogya Abhiyan- Maharashtra, State Committee
Dr. Anant Phadke, Dr. Satish Gogulwar, Dr. Abhijeet More, Dr. Suhas Kolhekar, Shubhangi Kulkarni, Kajal Jain, Meena Sheshu, Dr. Madhukar Gumble, Brinelle D’Souza, Kamayani Mahabal, Dr. Swati Rane, Avinash Kadam, Purnima Chikarmane, Shahaji Gadhire, Com. Shankar Pujari, Dr. Shashikant Ahankari, Ranjana Kanhere, Dr. Hemalata Pisal, Adv. Bandya Sane, Latika Rajput, Rajiv Thorat, Sachin Deshpande, Dr. Kishore Moghe, Nitin Pawar, Someshwar Chandurkar, Avil Borkar, Trupti Malati, Dr. Abhay Shukla