The Delhi government has tied-up with eight private diagnostic centres across the city to provide free MRI and CT scan facilities to Delhiites earning less than 3 lakhs annually.
The scheme is restricted to people who have lived in the city for at least three years, even though Delhi government hospitals receive around 40% of patients from neighbouring states. “This is the first time in India that a government is providing such tests for free. Once everyone comes to know, people from other parts of the country may come to Delhi to get treated for free, putting immense pressure on the system and increasing the waiting period again,” the minister said.
The initiative, which started from December 1, will be funded by the R 350 crore saved by the government in the construction of flyovers.
The government has designated 10 of its multi-speciality hospitals – such as GB Pant, Lok Nayak, Deen Dayal Upadhayay, Guru Teg Bahadur -- to prescribe these tests.
Patients in the outpatient department of the designated hospitals will have to produce either a food security card or an income certificate along with any identity proof issued in Delhi at least three years ago. Patients admitted to these hospitals will not have to produce income proof.
“Once people have been prescribed the tests, they can just take an appointment from one of the eight centres and get the test done for free. The government will directly pay the centres according to the rates prescribed by CGHS (central government health scheme),” said Jain.
The decision was taken to reduce the long waiting periods for these scans. “In some cases, the patients have to wait for as long as three years to get the tests. Now, they can go to any of the eight centres and can get the test within a week,” said Jain.
Currently, there is only one MRI machine at the premises of Lok Nayak hospital which is shared by all 34 Delhi government hospitals. The government is also planning to install 5 MRI and 10 CT scan machines in its hospitals.