Chandigarh, Aug 31 (PTI) The Punjab government has revised fees for several medical services in the government hospitals in the state with effect from September 1, drawing sharp reaction from the Opposition.
Among services, the charge for ambulance has been raised from 5 per km to 15 per km while the fee for ECG has been increased from Rs 60 to Rs 75.
Similarly, the OPD registration charge has been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10 and the admission charges for general ward has been hiked from Rs 25 to Rs 40.
The operation charges for minor surgery have been revised upward to Rs 250 from Rs 100 earlier and for major surgery, the fee has been increased from Rs 750 to Rs 1,200, as per the order.
The fee for private AC room has been increased from Rs 500 to RS 1,000 per day and bed charges in general ward has been increased from Rs 30 to 40.
However, the state health officials said these charges are meant for the 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.
Meanwhile, opposition parties Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party have slammed the Congress-led dispensation in the state for raising the charges for medical services.
The SAD 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 described this move as an 'unfortunate development' and 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.
“It seemed that the Congress government wanted to profiteer from the plight of the people,” Cheema said in a statement here.
The rates of other services including stay in private ward which had been doubled from Rs 500 per night to Rs 1,000 to a 15 to 20 per cent increase in X ray, ultrasound, ECG and operation charges would make treatment in government hospitals out of the reach of the poor and needy, said Cheema.
“This hike in charges should be withdrawn immediately. The government should subsidise these services on humanitarian grounds instead of seeking to profit from them”, said the Akali leader.
AAP leader Aman Arora said the state government has put an additional financial burden on poor people for availing health services by increasing charges.
Describing it as “anti-people”, Arora said the party would launch an agitation if this decision was not taken back. PTI CHS VSD HDA