The administration of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) seems to have given a cold shoulder to providing financial aid for the treatment of poor patients.
A committee constituted to allot funds for the treatment of poor patients has not even conducted a single meeting since it has been constituted. PGIMER director Dr YK Chawla constituted a committee named the "Poor Patient Fund Allotment Committee" under the chairmanship of Dr AK Gupta, medical superintendent. The order regarding the constitution of the committee was issued in January 2012.
The committee was particularly constituted to allot financial aid for the treatment for poor patients who require funds above Rs. 10,000.
As per the information available with the Hindustan Times, the committee has not even conducted a single meeting to extend help to poor patients in the past two years.
When contacted PGIMER spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar, who is also the convenor of the committee, said till date no requisition for poor patient fund above Rs. 10,000 had come to the committee.
However, a query to various senior faculty members of the institute revealed that the PGIMER's answer is completely unrealistic.
"There are a large number of poor patients who require money for treatment and many of them die also because they can't afford expensive treatment. How it is possible that the committee has not received any application?" said a head of a surgical department, wishing not to be named.
Another professor from one of the medical departments said, "Has the committee ever encouraged the doctors to refer the cases of poor patients to them?"
However, as per the PGIMER, the poor patients are given treatment from various funds, including Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi, union health minister cancer fund, Punjab government cancer fund and private grants.
Besides, the institute also claimed that for allotment of funds up to Rs. 2,000 for the treatment of poor patients, the resident doctor of the hospital administration has powers; and the medical superintendent has the power to sanction funds up to Rs. 10,000.
Significantly, at the PGIMER it has remained a long history that it has failed to utilise the funds it was given under various central and state government schemes for the treatment of poor patients. Around two years back, the HT had highlighted that how the institute spent only 30% of the National Illness Assistance Fund it received to help the poor patients in their treatment. However, following the poor performance, its fund allocation also kept on decreasing.