Supreme court
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New Delhi:

The Supreme Court said on Friday that the states should take steps regarding the installation of CCTV cameras in COVID dedicated hospitals where coronavirus patients are being treated.

Citing Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital where CCTVs have been installed in all the wards, a bench comprising Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.R. Shah said that installation of CCTV cameras in all the wards is a welcome step, which shall not only help the hospital management immediately find out the requirements for proper care of the patients but will also ensure transparency in patient care.

The top court on Friday passed a slew of directions in the suo moto case of proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospitals.

The bench noted that CCTV footage should be made available by the hospitals in the NCT of Delhi to the inspecting/supervising experts’ team or to any other authority or body as per the directions of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for screening the footage and issuing necessary directions thereon.

The bench said, “The Chief Secretaries of other states shall also take steps regarding the installation of CCTV cameras in COVID dedicated hospitals where COVID patients are taking treatment to facilitate the management of such patients and for the screening of the footage by designated authorities or bodies so that remedial actions may be suggested and ensured.”

Emphasising a uniform policy on COVID testings, the bench said the Centre “may issue appropriate guidelines/directions to all the states/Union Territories with regard to prescribing reasonable rates of various COVID related facilities/test etc., which need to be uniformly followed by all concerned.”

The bench noted that the Centre has constituted a committee comprising V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, and a representative from the AIIMS and the GNCTD regarding reasonable rates of various COVID related facilities/tests etc.

“The Government of India, on the basis of the report from the said committee, has already taken a decision for reducing the cost of testing in the NCT Delhi,” observed the bench.

The bench ordered that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shall constitute expert committees consisting of — a) Senior doctors from Central government hospitals in Delhi; b) Doctors from GNCTD hospitals or other hospitals of Delhi government; c) Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences; d) Responsible officer from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“The expert committees shall inspect, supervise and issue necessary directions to all government hospitals, COVID hospitals and other hospitals in NCT of Delhi taking care of COVID patients. The committees shall ensure that at least one visit in each hospital is done weekly,” said the top court.

The bench said the Ministry of Home Affairs may issue appropriate directions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to all states/Union Territories to uniformly follow the revised discharge policy of May 8, with regard to the discharge of different categories of patients as categorised in the revised policy.

“All COVID dedicated hospitals shall create a helpdesk accessible physically as well as by telephone from where the well-being of patients admitted to the hospitals can be enquired,” said the top court.

The bench said that all COVID dedicated hospitals shall permit one willing attendant of the patient in the hospital premise, who can remain in an area earmarked by the hospital.

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