Over hundred activists from various outfits associated with Sassoon Bachao Samiti staged demonstrations and organised a dharna at Sassoon Hospital on Monday to oppose privatisation of the hospitals laboratory and radiology department and seek withdrawal of proposal to grant autonomy to the hospital.
A delegation comprising Samiti members Dr Anant Phadke,Dr Abhay Shukla and Kiran Moghe met the Dean of B J Medical College,Dr Ajay Chandanwale,and discussed the issue related to the proposed privatisation of the services and also demanded immediate withdrawal of the proposal submitted to give autonomy to the hospital.
The proposal to grant autonomy to the hospital is likely to become a medium for privatisation and denial of essential health services to the poor, he alleged.
Chandanwale agreed to meet Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar after April 20 to discuss the issues. The activists have demanded that evidence based information be provided to leaders.
Phadke said there is a need to ensure supply of all essential medicines and surgical supplies to patients. Moghe also said at least 6 lakh tests were conducted annually at the government hospital and if services were privatised then it would spell a doom for the poor.
Chandanwale assured the delegation that the proposal for autonomy would be withdrawn and a proposal for strengthening services in the hospital would be developed with inputs from experts and the Sassoon Bachao Samiti.
He also said Sassoon has sufficient staff to manage laboratory services and hence privatisation of these services should not be required. Members of the Samiti resolved to continue with the movement to oppose privatisation of services in the hospital and to give a set of alternative suggestions for strengthening hospital services.
The dharna was addressed by representatives of various organisations including Jan Arogya Abhiyan,Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana,Centre for Indian Trade Unions,Pune District Molkarin Sanghatana,Lokayat,Kagad Kachpatra Kashtakari Panchayat,Government Nurses Federation,Laboratory Technicians Association,Jan Arogya Manch,RPI-Bahujan Mahasangh,Dalit Swayamsevak Sangh,Rashtriya Sewa Dal among others.