New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it would direct states to set up expert panels and on installing CCTV cameras in hospitals to ensure proper treatment to COVID-19 patients, while asking the Centre to take decision on the issue of different charges being levied in different states for coronavirus tests.
Seeking uniform COVID testing charges, the top court said that in some states it was Rs 2,200, while in others it was fixed at Rs 4,500. It however, left the issue to be decided by the Centre.
In the hearing conducted via video-conferencing, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah said that all states should constitute a panel of experts for inspecting hospitals to ensure proper care of COVID-19 patients.
The bench, which said that it would pass its order later, observed that there should be uniformity in COVID-19 testing charge in all states.
It said that the court may consider passing an order for installation of CCTVs in hospitals to ensure monitoring of patient care.
Dealing with Delhi’s LNJP hospital, whose condition was earlier termed as “horrific”, the top court said that CCTV cameras were required to be installed in wards there so that everything is monitored.
The apex court had earlier torn into the Delhi government over the “sorry state of affairs” for treatment of COVID-19 patients at its hospitals including LNJP and also decreased testing, calling the situation in the national capital “horrendous, horrific and pathetic”.
It had taken note of the reports of “horrific scenes” at Delhi’s COVID-19 dedicated LNJP hospital where bodies are being stacked next to coronavirus patients and had said that it indicated the “sorry state of affairs” in government hospitals.
It had also directed the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Gujarat to take “remedial action” ensuring proper management of patients at hospitals.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the court that some states have been negotiating with various stakeholders to ensure that COVID testing charges are reduced.
The top court said that it will pass some directions in the matter and then fix the suo motu (on its own) case for hearing in July. It had taken cognizance of the poor treatment facility for COVID-19 patients and improper handling of bodies.
On Wednesday, the court had slammed the Delhi government for targeting doctors and healthcare workers by suspending them and lodging FIRs for sharing videos highlighting the real state of city hospitals and said it was “shooting the messenger”.