A total of 43 private hospitals in the capital were given land at concessional rates on condition that they would treat the poor for free. (File Photo)
The Delhi government has ordered five top private hospitals in the capital to deposit "unwarranted profits" of more than Rs 700 crore made by denying treatment to the poor. The hospitals say its "unfair and they shall appeal in court".
After an NDTV investigation showed how poor and desperate patients were being refused treatment by private hospitals, the Delhi High Court cracked the whip on them with a fine of Rs 700 crore.
A total of 43 private hospitals in the capital were given land at concessional rates on condition that they would treat the poor for free. At that time, the hospitals set 10 per cent of IPD and 25 per cent of OPD services free of cost for the poor.
However, the NDTV investigation revealed that poor patients were ill-treated and thrown out of these hospitals.
The high court had also asked the Delhi government to set up a monitoring committee to probe into the matter.
"The recovery amount has been calculated from the date when the hospital became operational to March 22, 2007, when the high court passed final orders on a PIL demanding implementation of the provision of free treatment to poor and action against the erring hospitals," Ashok Agarwal, member of the monitoring committee, told NDTV.
According to the government report, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Max Super Speciality Hospital (Saket), Shanti Mukand Hospital, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute, failed to provide free treatment to the poor and made profits instead.
The order, however, does not rule out action against more hospitals.
Reacting to the order, Fortis Healthcare Limited said, "the impugned order is legally flawed and untenable. The management will challenge it in the high court."
"We believe the order is unfair to us, we stand fully committed in discharging all our obligations towards economically weaker sections," Max-Super Speciality Hospital said in a statement.
The committee had also recommended that the fine of Rs 700 crore should be used for the development of Delhi's government hospitals.