MEMBERS OF the treasury benches Thursday raised the issue of fleecing of patients by private hospitals in the state and urged Punjab’s Health Minister, Brahm Mohindra, to institute measures in place whereby their activities could be monitored and affordable treatment to persons belonging to economically weak sections could be ensured.
The Congress MLAs were taking part in a discussion of a resolution moved by Congress MLA, Randeep Singh Nabha, wherein it was proposed that the state government should take steps to provide standard and cheaper health services to the people of the state and also open government shops in civil hospitals to provide medicines, particularly generic medicines, at cheaper cost.
Mohali MLA Balbir Sidhu raised the issue of certain private hospitals in Mohali stating that the services being provided by them were far from satisfactory. “These hospitals are nothing more than commercial shops. I want to tell the Health Minister that the weaker sections of the society are not being given treatment in these hospitals. They make a person pay lakhs of rupees right at the time of admission and the next day they ask for more much to the grief of the patient’s attendants,” he said. Sidhu added that these hospitals have been given land at concessionary rates and there should be an authority which should have a regulatory control over these hospitals.
Another Congress MLA, Kuljit Nagra, from Fatehgarh Sahib, echoed the statement of Sidhu and said that there was a private hospital running in his constituency which is functioning from the building built by the government on a piece of government land. “However there are no facilities offered at this hospital for patients from economically weak sections of the society,” he said. Gidderbaha MLA, Raja Amarinder Warring, also cited an example from his constituency where patients were being forced to purchase medicines from shop inside the hospital. “The hospital sells the medicines at inflated rates which are at least 30 per cent higher than those in open market,” said Warring.
Commenting on the functioning of government hospitals in the state, Kuljit Nagra said senior doctors in medical services had been deputed to perform administrative duties. “They take lakhs as salary per month but do not see a single patient. Even the PGI Director performs OPD duties and operates on patients. These doctors should also be made to examine patients,” he said.
AAP MLA Jagdev Singh Kamalu pointed out that there was not a single doctor in the government hospital in Maur despite the fact that there was a provision for eight doctors to be posted there. “Send one doctor at least. There is no doctor posted at the hospital since last one year. No recruitment of doctors has been done either by the last government or by this one,” he said.
Another AAP MLA, Aman Arora said that the state government was closing down 1,637 sewa kendra in the state but they can utilise the space of these kendras effectively if it opens health clinics in them. “You will also get corporate help in setting these up,” he said.