The Leader of the Opposition and former chief minister Manik Sarkar on Sunday urged Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to cancel the notification issued by the Health Department, which had raised fees and deemed chargeable hitherto free treatments.
“This [increase] would severely impact common people who are compelled to take treatment at government hospitals,” Mr. Sarkar commented in a letter addressed to the CM.
The Congress also slammed the State government for the introduction of “private hospital-type fee structure” in government hospitals. Senior party leaders Subal Bhowmik and Pijush Biswas in a news conference warned of an agitation to compel the government to withdraw its decision.
Services — from registration to treatment to food — in government hospitals have been made chargeable for all patients, with some concessions provided to Below Poverty Line certificate holders.
Over a hundred pathological tests are to be conducted on payment only.
Senior health officials, however, argued that the decision to introduce a fee pattern in hospitals was taken with the intention to improve standards in services and lab tests. They also talked about how modernisation of health facilities had been stalled due to a funds crunch.