New Delhi: Delhi Health Minister A K Walia today came under attack in the Assembly from a number of Congress MLAs who claimed that poor patients are not being looked after properly at various government hospitals.

Raising the issue, Viswas Nagar MLA Naseeb Singh severely criticised Walia for failing to ensure better health care facilities for poor patients in the Delhi government-run hospitals and demanded prompt remedial measures.

He said poor patients suffering from serious ailments are often denied proper treatment for not being able to pay the fees which was very unfortunate.

Another Congress MLA Prahlad Singh Sawhney, who represents Chandni Chowk constituency, also criticised functioning of the health department and cited example of how a prominent hospital told patients with severe burn injuries to get bandage and other materials from chemist shops.

A number of MLAs complained that their recommendations for free treatment to poor patients are often turned down by the hospitals.

As Walia’s efforts to pacify the MLAs did not fructify, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit came in defence of the Minister and said government has to function under rules and regulations and the criticism was uncalled for.

“There are constraints in addressing certain issues. We will have to follow rules. There are authorities like CAG which keep their eye on functioning of the departments,” she said.

She said most of the city hospitals are overburdened with patients as around 30 per cent of them come from neighbouring states which do not have proper health care facilities.

“If there is an accident in NOIDA, the victim is brought to Delhi hospital. All our hospitals are under tremendous pressure. The neighbouring states should improve their health care facilities,” she said.

Speaker Yoganand Shastri asked Walia to act tough against private hospitals, which came up on land given by government on nominal rates, on the issue of providing treatement to poor patients .

“You must act tough against them,” he said. The hospitals, which were given land at subsidised rate, have to offer treatment to poor patients free of cost.