Chandigarh, Aug 31 (PTI) The Punjab Health Department on Monday evening withdrew its revised rates of several medical services in government hospitals following criticism from opposition parties.
Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the Punjab government under the leadership of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is committed to provide quality healthcare to the people of the state.
'The existing rates would be applicable for the health services available in the government hospitals under Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC),” he said in a statement here.
'Keeping in view the deteriorating situation during COVID pandemic, the instructions have been issued to withdraw the revised rates of treatment in government hospitals under PHSC,' Sidhu said.
The minister said instructions have been issued to all the civil surgeons in this regard.
The state government had earlier revised the fee for several medical services in the government hospitals with effect from September 1, drawing sharp reaction from the Opposition.
Earlier, the state health department had decided to raise charges for ambulances from 5 per km to 15 per km while fees for ECG from Rs 60 to Rs 75.
Similarly, the OPD registration charge had been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10 and the admission charges for general ward had been hiked from Rs 25 to Rs 40.
The operation charges for minor surgery had been revised upward to Rs 250 from Rs 100 earlier and for major surgery, the fee had been increased from Rs 750 to Rs 1,200, as per the earlier order.
However, the state health officials said these charges were meant for maintenance of hospital buildings and other infrastructure.
They further clarified that coronavirus patients would continue to get free treatment at all government hospitals in the state.
The Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party had slammed the Congress-led dispensation in the state for raising the charges for medical services.
The SAD had accused the state government of “profiteering” during a time of COVID-19 pandemic by increasing rates of health services.
SAD leader and former minister Daljit Singh Cheema had said that instead of making health services more affordable during a time of pandemic and ensuring free treatment to the poor, the government had raised rates of all services.
'This hike in charges should be withdrawn immediately. The government should subsidize these services on humanitarian grounds instead of seeking to profit from them”, Akali leader had earlier said.
AAP leader Aman Arora also said that the state government had put an additional financial burden on poor people for availing health services by increased charges. PTI CHS VSD SNE