The Supreme Court on Friday observed that the Centre needs to do “much more” to address the concerns of medical professionals as the country cannot have “dissatisfied soldiers in this war against the coronavirus,” Bar and Bench reported.
Expressing concern over reports of doctors not being paid their full salaries in both private and government hospitals, a bench headed by Justice J Ashok Bhushan said the issue should not require court intervention but should be solved at the government-level. “You need to do more,” the judge said. “This is a matter of concern regarding doctors.”
The court was hearing a petition seeking separate residential facilities for doctors treating patients affected by the coronavirus, by acquiring hotels and guest houses close to the hospitals. The plea, filed by Dr Arushi Jain, contended that currently health workers were made to share rooms, which defeated the purpose of self-containment, according to NDTV.
The court said that there are two main aspects for the government to consider while addressing the grievances of medical workers. First is the problem of high risk exposure for doctors handling Covid-19 patients, and the second is to provide them necessary accommodation with requisite parameters, Live Law reported.
Referring to an affidavit filed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the court observed that the Centre’s criteria for quarantine was “not satisfactory” and exposes doctors and their families to greater risk. “The solicitor general needs to give suggestion to prevent exposure of frontline workers to their families,” the court added. “The categories of high risk and low risk exposure of doctors and nurses is not proper.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the court that all guidelines formulated by the World Health Organization, the Indian Council of Medical Research and other experts were being followed. However, the bench said there was a need “to travel the extra mile” to see what else can be done for the health care workers.
“We cannot have dissatisfied soldiers in the Covid-19 war,” it added.“Do not take a cosmetic artificial approach.”
The court then asked the petitioners to send their suggestions to the Secretary, Health and Family welfare. The matter will be heard again on June 17.