Guidelines to be followed by hospitals when a patient presents with chest pain - PIO: there are no symptom wise guidelines prescribed by DG Health services - CIC turned down the request to display the treatment of life threatening diseases “symptom wise”
Guidelines to be followed by all hospitals in a situation where a patient present himself complaining of chest pain was sought - PIO: there are no symptom wise guidelines prescribed by the Directorate General of Health services - Appellant: respondents should display the guidelines for treatment of life threatening diseases “symptom wise” on the website - PIO: Standard Treatment Guidelines, diseases-wise are displayed - CIC: public authorities are not obliged to create the information under the RTI Act
1. The Appellant through an RTI application dated 06.10.2012, filed before the CPIO, Ministry of Health & Family Welfares, New Delhi, sought following information:
1. What is the protocol/guidelines for all hospitals (public and private) to strictly follow in a situation where a patient present himself complaining of chest pain/uneasiness in chest at the emergency ward of a hospital?
2. If such a protocol /guidelines are laid down by the union health ministry, why was it not observed in entirety by Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur on 20th May 2011 when my late brother complained of chest pain/uneasiness?”
2. The CPIO vide his letter dated 19.10.2012 informed the Appellant that “There are no protocol/guidelines prescribed by this Directorate for all hospitals (Public and private) to be strictly followed in a situation where a patient presents himself complaining of chest pain/uneasiness in chest at the emergency ward of a hospital. The respective hospitals manage such cases as per the prescribed text in the medical literature and infrastructure/equipment available.”
3. Aggrieved by this reply, the Appellant filed an appeal dated 03.12.2012 before the Appellate Authority which the Appellate Authority decided vide his order dated 11.12.2012 wherein he, while reiterating the reply of the CPIO, also added: “Each patient coming in the emergency department of Central Govt. hospitals is examined and treated by experts as per their qualification and experience on the basis of the presenting history, signs & symptoms. Patient is managed as per the prescribed treatment in medical literature and according to facilities available in the set up.”
4. The Appellant then filed the present appeal before the Commission expressing his dissatisfaction with the reply/information given by the Respondents.
5. During the hearing, the Respondents, while maintaining their stand that the information sought by the Appellant is not held by them, inform the Commission that they have since uploaded certain ‘Standard Treatment Guidelines’ for 13 medical domains on the website (viz., clinicalestablishments.nic.in) which includes treatment guidelines for Cardiac diseases and for Respiratory diseases among other diseases. The Appellant points out that the said ‘Standard Treatment Guidelines’ now displayed by the Respondents on the website is only “diseases wise” and not “symptom wise”, as requested by him. He makes a mention of some reputed hospitals which have displayed protocol for treatment “symptom wise” on their website. He thus insists that the Respondents be directed to display the protocol/guidelines for treatment (of life threatening diseases) “symptom wise” on the website.
6. Having heard the submissions of the parties and perused the records, the Commission finds that the Respondents have already communicated the factual reply/information (regarding non availability of information) to the Appellant. As such no further disclosure obligation can be cast on them with regard to the present RTI request of the Appellant. However, with regard to the Appellant’s request that the Respondents be directed to display (on their website) the information (i.e. “symptom wise” guidelines/protocol for treatment of life threatening diseases) which he wants to be displayed, the Commission notes that this is something which falls beyond the purview of the RTI Act as in terms of section 2(j) “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to- (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; (iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device; of the RTI Act the public authorities are obliged to give only that information which is held by or under the control of them. The public authorities are not obliged to create the information under the RTI Act. In the instant case, the public authority admittedly does not hold the information the Appellant here wants to obtain. Therefore, the Appellant’s request cannot be acceded to. However, the Commission would like to advise the public authority (viz. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) to consider the Appellant’s request for putting up the “symptom wise” guidelines/protocol for treatment (of life threatening diseases) on the website.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Shishir Chand v. Directorate General of Health Services in Case No. CIC/LS/A/2013/001322SS