Demonetisation: Hospitals turn away some patients with ‘scrapped’ notes, discounts for others

A spokesperson for Kailash Hospital said patients were being given the option of paying through their cards or cheques if they did not have cash.

Written by Mallica Joshi | Amitabh Sinha & Anubhuti Vishnoinew Delhi | Published: November 10, 2016 2:10 am
notes, notes ban, rs 500 notes, rs 1000 notes, rbi, banks, demonetisation, black money, corruption, modi black money, surgical strike on black money, rbi, reserve bank of india, new notes, indian express A pharmacy outside RML hospital asked customers to pay in small denominations. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Farida Haq, 37, from Kabul, had withdrawn Rs 40,000 for an advance payment for a spine surgery at a private hospital in Delhi. When she went to submit her fee there were no takers.

“I had no idea that this change was due and was asked to bring an advance payment. I brought cash as I had got all my money converted into Rupees. I don’t even have a bank account in India. I don’t know if the bank will accept my passport as an identity proof and convert the money,” said Haq, who had come to Delhi in September for her surgery at IBS Hospital, Lajpat Nagar.

The hospital staff confirmed such incidents.

“We usually get about 75 patients a day but today we got about 45. Of these, we had to turn away some 15. It was a very stressful day,” said the front desk manager at IBS Hospital.

Twenty-three-year old Faruk from Kandahar met with a similar fate. “I had a consultation with the doctor at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute but once I reached here, other patients and guards told me there was no point trying to pay as no one was accepting big notes,” he said.

At Moolchand Hospital, several patients were forced to go back without getting a consultation as they were not carrying debit or credit cards. “We were forced to turn back a number of people because there was no way for us to pay. I don’t have a debit card and cannot withdraw cash from the bank. I have no idea what to do,” said B L Sharma, 85, who had gone to Dr Kalra Clinic in Sriniwaspuri.

Outside a medical store in Noida’s Sector 19, one among half a dozen customers slipped out of the queue near the billing counter and said, “I managed to give them a Rs 500 rupee note and get change in return.”

Inside the store, Gaurav Verma, who runs the shop, said, “I have turned down customers who had huge bills, the total amount would have been at least Rs 50,000. But all of them had Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes. What do we do? We are out of Rs 100 notes too.”

Meanwhile, at Kailash Hospital’s OPD in Noida, 59-year-old Bhagwati Mahto had about Rs 300 in cash while her bill was Rs 550. “I told them I only had Rs 300 apart from Rs 500 and 1,000 notes. They gave me a discount but they did not take the other notes,” Mahto said.

B K Rana, 58, on the other hand, had to borrow money from a friend to pay his medical bills. “They are not taking Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. I do not have a debit or credit card. I had to ask my friend to lend me some money so that I can pay the consultation fee,” Rana said.

A spokesperson for Kailash Hospital said patients were being given the option of paying through their cards or cheques if they did not have cash. “The bills of all inpatients have been put on credit from today (Wednesday). Those getting discharged today are paying through cheques. In some cases, we are letting them go in good faith. At the emergency ward, first aid treatment is being given on a complimentary basis or through cards.”

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  1. H
    hameed mohamed
    Nov 10, 2016 at 3:25 am
    the demonetsition of 1000 and 500 notes is a very good bold step but the timing and given shirt time is making a huge life threatening problems do our prime minister had calculated all those problems to the pupluc now let see how intelligent is supreme Court also there is a big conspiracy the bjp do not opposition party use black money in the coming elections
    1. P
      Parth Garg
      Nov 10, 2016 at 8:07 am
      Demonetization is the act of stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender. Now the Government of India has demonetized the Rs 500 and Rs.1000 notes. It means these are no more a legal tender. In the situation how can any one, including the banks, accept these notes. And if, for a limited period of say 50 days, it continues to be a legal tender, then how any one including a grocer, theatre owner, restaunteur, railways, state transport, a petrol pump owner or for that matter anyone else can refuse accepting such legal money. These persons could well deposit such proceeds or receipts consisting of the current Rs 500 and 1000 denomination notes in their bank accounts as they used to do so far.. It is learnt that refusal to accept a legal tender is an offence.
      1. R
        Rakesh Tiwari
        Nov 10, 2016 at 8:19 am
        I just cancelled my online order to be paid by cash on delivery because the courier was refusing to accept 500 or 1000 rs. note. I fail to understand why merchants and online sellers refuse to accept these notes.
        1. S
          Nov 10, 2016 at 4:33 am
          Afterall Hospitals can wait for a day or two so that these people can go the Bank and get a Demand Draft. Cash Transactions are very rarely seen in Western countries. Even for 10 $ people pay through Credit Card. If Hospitals do genuine business, why are they afraid to accept these notes? lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;This is a great reform and small difficulties for a day or two is not worse than Political Parties calling for a Bundh. Public service is not affected.