Doctors shall face action for shunning AIDS patients: SC

New Delhi, Oct 1 Doctors who refuse to treat AIDS or HIV patients will have to face the music as the Centre today told the Supreme Court that it has decided to take firm action against them.

The Centre said it has circulated directions to states for taking action against doctors and para-medical staff, in both government and private sector, for shunning AIDS or HIV patients.

The Government’s submission in the apex court comes in the backdrop of complaints highlighting the plight of patients who were denied treatment by doctors or para-medical staff both in private and government hospitals.

"It must be ensured that there is no discrimination or stigma to PLHA’s (persons living with HIV or AIDS) at health care facilities otherwise. The cases of denial of services to positive patients should be viewed seriously and action initiated in all such cases," the Centre’s office memorandum circulated among states and submitted in the apex court today said.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Ashok Bhan-P Sathasivam on the request of the Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam said it was approving the memorandum with a direction to the states to implement the same.

However, during the hearing on a PIL related to the matter, the bench minced no words in expressing displeasure at the condition of hospitals and medicare in the country.

"In rural India, there is no doctor available. Even in a 50-bedded hospital not a single doctor is present. It’s only on paper," the apex court said when the ASG tried to highlight various steps taken by the Government to provide efficacious treatment to HIV/AIDS victims.

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