Upgrade ESIC hospitals to AIIMS level, says HC

 thehindu.com  08/01/2020 18:31:33 

The Madras High Court has suggested that the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment raise standards of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC)-run medical colleges and hospitals in the State to that of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) with the assistance of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The High Courts first all-women Full Bench, comprising Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana, Anita Sumanth and P.T. Asha, made the suggestion while holding the provisions of the ESI Act applicable to both aided as well as unaided educational institutions since it was a socio-economic welfare-oriented legislation.

Lack of infrastructure

In its 90-page judgment, the Bench expressed dismay over lack of infrastructure and manpower in many ESIC hospitals. Since they were being run with contributions made by subscribers, they cannot deny medical facilities to them on the pretext of shortage of staff, the judges said.

The Bench said that many subscribers had to approach empanelled hospitals for specialised treatment. It led to additional expenditure for the corporation. Further, non-availability of CT and MRI scan facilities could cripple the functioning of the hospitals.

Shortage of doctors should be addressed and more 24-hour dispensaries established by ESIC. It is mandatory on the part of the ESIC to achieve the said milestone without any delay, the Bench said. It pointed out that even a Parliamentary panel had recommended upgrading facilities in ESIC hospitals across the country.

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