Railway hospitals in the state to open doors to poor patients
Railway hospitals in the state will now be open to all patients.
Earlier, only railway employees and their family could avail of the services.
According to an agreement signed between the Union Ministry of Railway and National Health Authority (NHA), patients below the poverty line who are eligible for Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), can get treatment in railway hospitals.
The notice for its implementation was issued to all railway hospitals on November 1 and the scheme is likely to start in a week.
“Most beneficiaries were not aware that they could avail facilities in railway hospitals under the scheme. It is, therefore, essential that wide publicity is given, so that eligible beneficiaries are aware of medical facility being provided in railway hospitals empaneled under PM- JAY,” reads the notice sent by the Ministry of Railways.
There are three railway hospitals in Mumbai, including two run by Central Railway in Kalyan and Byculla. The Western Railway has a hospital in Mumbai Central. So far, only railway employees or their relatives were eligible to take treatment at the hospitals at concessional rates. The government had announced plans to open facilities to the public but lack of awareness about the scheme meant there were no claimants. The fresh circular seeks to publicise the scheme.
Every year, thousands of people are treated at the three railway hospitals in Mumbai.
An official from Central Railway said, “The hospitals have state-of-art facilities. Though the move would put additional pressure on us, but it is a good decision which would help many patients.”
As per the notice, the circular will be publicised at all railway stations across the city. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal held talks with the beneficiaries of PM-JAY on October 30. It was observed that not many people were aware of the MoU signed between the Railways and NHA. Following this, the instruction was sent to all general managers.
Activists have welcomed the move.
Anish Mehra, a social activist, said, “The railway hospitals have infrastructure but often there are fewer patients. Under the scheme, people needn’t have to stand in long queues in civic-run hospitals.”