State-run hospitals have suddenly raised the cost of phaco surgeries (removal of cataracts). A government order (memo no. HF/O/MS/147/HPH/NPCB/5-O-3-2011-12/4} issued on February 29 states that patients will have to shell out Rs 1,200 which is Rs 700 extra for phaco surgeries at state-run hospitals.
The move comes amid CM Mamata Banerjees claims of providing affordable healthcare facilities to the masses. Health department officials said the decision was taken after it was found that the cost of procuring sophisticated equipment has risen.
BPL patients and those who have enrolled their name in the West Bengal Health Scheme,however,will be kept out of the purview.
Not only this,cost of various other surgeries have shot up ever since the new government came to power. The cost of extended hysterectomy has increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,800,while that of surgeries like aspiration of liver gone up to Rs 3,000,from Rs 2,500. The steep rise in the cost of surgeries has created a flutter among patients.
Rita Guin,of Basanti in South 24 Parganas who had taken her father to Calcutta Medical College and Hospitals Regional Institute of Opthalmology,said she was unaware that the department has raised the cost of phaco surgery. Guin,who works in a small private firm,said it was difficult to bear the treatment cost.
Significantly,the erstwhile Left Front government had issued an order in the August 2010 stating that Rs 500 will be charged for a phaco surgery a step severely criticized by the Opposition then.
Doctors belonging to CPM-backed Association of Health Service Doctors said that they will send a deputation to the government for rollback of the hike in the cost of phaco surgeries.
Dr Asit Biswas,spokesperson,health department said that apart from phaco surgeries,the cost of all other surgeries can be reimbursed by those enrolled in the West Bengal Health Scheme.