Delhi government soon plans to provide in its hospitals advanced diagnostic facilities, for which people are currently forced to visit private laboratories and shell out exorbitant amounts of money.
Tests such as CT scan and MRI, meant for scanning serious ailments are presently available only in a handful of government hospitals in the Capital. According to the plan, the state health ministry will install CT scan machines in all of its 100-bedded and above hospitals and MRI machines in its 200-bedded and above hospitals in the city.
This move would mean these tests, which otherwise cost anywhere between Rs 3000 and Rs 10,000, would be provided at less than half the price.
"It is ridiculous to see poor people running from one lab to another to get these expensive tests done. I really want to ensure that no one visiting our hospitals has to leave the hospital premises and go out to conduct tests. This step is to ensure that. Also, most of them can't afford the amount private labs ask for to conduct these tests,"said Kiran Walia, state health minister.
"In some of our hospitals, an ultrasound costs under Rs 100. For these tests, we can charge an amount of Rs 500, which is much less than what private centres levy,"said a source in the health ministry, requesting anonymity.
Out of 30-odd hospitals under the Delhi government, just about five hospitals provide CT scan facility and three provide MRI facilities at present. About 10 Delhi government hospitals are 100-bedded and nine of their hospitals have 200 or more beds.
But not all of these hospitals provide CT scan and MRI facility at present.
"We are working out the modalities to see how it can be done. There's a possibility we might work with private players and hand them over the responsibility of installation and maintenance of the machines, as our hospitals already are overburdened,"said Walia.
The cost of the project will be decided soon.
The Delhi government, under its NGO scheme, plans to open breast cancer clinics in all its 100-bedded and above hospitals. "The way breast cancer is rising, there’s a strong need to create awareness among masses and conduct screening tests in case there's even the slightest of doubt,"said Walia.
The Delhi government has asked private players expected to bid for the project to offer these tests free of cost to below poverty line (BPL) people, at concessional rates to CGHS and other beneficiaries, and at significantly lower rates to others.
Like any of its special clinics, the consultation fee at the breast cancer clinic will also be fixed at Rs 50 to make it affordable to the poor.
"If all goes as planned, by the end of this year, machines should be functional and by early next year, clinics operational,"said the source.