The change of command of the under-construction cancer hospital here will not affect the cost of medical services offered.
Earlier, an MoU was signed between Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Jalandhar, and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot. But later, the state government asked Tata Cancer Hospital, Mumbai, to administrate and equip the Advanced Cancer Diagnostic, Treatment and Research Centre.
Authorities at the PIMS have assured that the cost of treatment at the cancer hospital will be the same as at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
The MoU signed between the PIMS and BFHU mentioned that the charges at the cancer hospital would be equivalent to charges for services at the PGI, Chandigarh. The clause is important in the backward cancer belt of Malwa.
There were doubts whether the cost of treatment would go up after the Tata Cancer hospital took over the research centre. Another cancer hospital constructed on government land in public private partnership in Bathinda by a private company has failed to bring respite to the poor as the cost of treatment is very high.
Poor cancer patients from Malwa region still go to Bikaner to get treatment at cheaper rates.
Interestingly, authorities at the BFUHS are clueless.
When asked if the MoU with the BFUHS had been cancelled, PIMS director Dr Vimal Sikri said, "Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has told Tata to equip the hospital and take control of its administration. The recruitments will also be conducted by Tata."
The BFUHS had to perform all these functions according to the MoU signed in April 2012. Sikri said, "The charges will be equivalent to those at the PGI, Chandigarh, and there will be no change in that clause."
The construction work of the hospital was to conclude by September this year, but is likely to take more time.