Free tests, medicines, separate OPD at district government hospitals in Punjab
With an aim at easing the distress of the elderly in government hospitals, the health department has decided to open separate Outdoor Patient Department (OPDs) for senior citizens every Tuesday and Saturday at all district governments across the state.
A medical officer, staff nurse and counsellor will be deputed for these OPDs under the National Programme for Health Care of Elderly programme by the health and family welfare department.
A circular has been issued to all Civil Surgeons and Deputy medical commissioner by the additional chief secretary of health and family welfare, Punjab on April 16. According to the circular, health officials have been asked to provide free treatment to elderly people including lab tests, medicines, physiotherapy, aids and appliances at free of cost in district hospitals to senior citizens immediately. These expenses will be booked under the National Health Mission (NHM).
The order also states, there should will be a separate line at the OPD registration window for the elderly, while free OPD slips with different colours should be dispensed to people above 60 years age, for easy identification of senior citizens. Two beds for the elderly will be kept reserved in every ward and officials are directed to mention ‘reserved for elderly’ behind the wall of the bed.
“A special attendant will be deputed at the doorstep of the hospital along with a wheelchair. His/her duty would be to accompany senior citizens during their visit to hospitals right from picking up to dropping back at hospital exit. His/her has to assist senior citizens from taking the OPD slip to consulting doctor, lab test, medicines and other treatment at the hospital,” the additional chief secretary health told officials in the letter.
To ensure compliance of the directions, health officials have been directed to submit a monthly report to additional chief secretary office by 5th of each month.
The Jalandhar Civil Surgeon office received the directions on Friday and all officials have been made aware of it.
Civil Surgeon Dr Rajesh Kumar Bagga said, “After receiving the directions from higher authorities, I held a meeting with my officials and a letter was also issued to all Senior Medical Officers and ASHA workers to create more awareness about this new move for the ease of the elderly.”
Bagga said authorities have asked hospitals to enroll Non-government organisations (NGOs) to augment activities including human resources and create awareness in this programme.