Government hospitals charging patients for medical services unfair: DAK

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Srinagar : While government hospitals are duty bound to provide free treatment to patients, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said patients are charged hefty sums on tests, procedures and medicines in Kashmir Valley’s government-run hospitals.
“It is unfair for government hospitals to charge patients as they have an obligation to provide services free of cost,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“It is the poor who visit government hospitals with a hope that they will receive free treatment, but to their disappointment they have to pay huge money to meet their health needs,” he said
DAK President said it is painful to see poor patients leaving hospitals without treatment because they cannot afford expenses of tests and medicines.
“Despite the availability of latest equipment at government hospitals, patients are deprived of treatment because of financial constraints, he said adding that all these advances are meaningless if patients cannot avail them.
Dr Nisar said government hospitals in Kashmir are no less than private hospitals when it comes to spending money.
“Cardiac patients have to pay 1, 20,000 rupees on pacing, 70,000 on angioplasty and 30,000 on radiofrequency ablation.
For coronary angiography and electrophysiological studies patients are charged 5500 rupees each,” he said.
Dr Nisar said Contrast enhanced CT scan costs Rs 3700 to patients and CT angiography 4200.
MR angiography and MR spectroscopy and contrast enhanced MRI costs 3700 each.
“If a patient wants to correct his refractory error by LASIK (Laser eye surgery), he/she has to pay 10, 000,” he said.
“From simple tests like CBC, KFT, LFT, Lipid profile, thyroid function, Urine examination, X-ray’s, ECG to hospital stay, patients are charged,” he added.
“While government has announced free drugs in government hospitals, the patients have to pay even for life-saving medicines. If someone gets a heart attack, he/she has to pay Rs 30,000 for tenecteplase, a thrombolytic drug that dissolves clot in clogged arteries and restores blood flow to heart. Poor have to end up on compromise in treatment as they cannot afford this costly drug,” said Dr Nisar.

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