On 11th January, 2020, the Parel-based Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and the Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, popular for providing affordable healthcare, stopped admitting new patients and also started discharging in-patients owing to a cash crunch caused due to the non-payment of funds from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children issued a notice stating, “Bai Jerbal Wadia Hospital for Children regretfully wishes to notify the patients and staff of the hospital and the general public that due to non-receipt of funds from the MCGM, we have been left with no other alternative but to reduce the services that are being offered for critical care and other related services till such time the funds are received. In order to avert any crisis, without prejudice, we are left with no other option but to discharge the in-patients against medical advice.”
The administration of Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for children and Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, which have over 800 beds catering to children and mothers, claimed BMC and the State Government owed them Rs 229 crore over the past few years. One of the largest children’s medical facilities in Mumbai, the hospital has run out of funds to buy medicines or pay vendors for ventilators, and have had to shut emergency medical services. Although managed by a private trust, the Hospital has a collaboration with the BMC, which bears 75% of the its operational costs, and is required to pay the hospital on a quarterly basis.
The Wadia hospitals, which came up in the late 1920s, operate as a joint venture between the Wadia family, BMC and state government. Doctors stated that payments had not been made for two years and salaries were delayed. Additionally, the hospital has no stock of medicines or even gases needed to save lives. For the safety of patients and staff, it was decided to discharge patients. The state government owes the hospitals up to Rs 100 crore, while BMC owes Rs 105 crore to the children’s hospital and Rs 31.4 Crore to the Maternity Hospital.
On 13th January, 2020, serving and retired employees of both hospitals began a three-day protest against the hospital management, the BMC and the State Govt. Under the Mumbai General Kamgar Union banner, current and past employees gathered on the hospital premises in Parel. While the existing staff demanded payment of their unpaid salaries since last month, the retired employees seek the release of last month’s unpaid pensions.
With political parties- apart from ruling Shiv Sena and Congress, as also the opposition – BJP, and the MNS – throwing their weight behind the cash-strapped Wadia hospitals, city Mayor Kishori Pednekar said the civic body would pay the “pending amount” of around Rs 20 crore to them.
On 13th after CM Uddhav Thackeray met Wadia hospital authorities and assured that pending dues would be cleared soon. As per media reports, the “high” cost of treatment at Wadia hospitals, has emerged as a serious contention in the tussle with BMC. On 14th January, 2020, the CM constituted a committee under Chief Secretary and Municipal Commissioner to finalise the dues of the State Govt and BMC. He also requested the hospital to restart its services. The hospital resumed services at its children’s and maternity facilities and on 15th January, the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital attended to 515 patients, while Nawrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital treated 264 patients at its out-patient departments.