Free treatment scheme a hit amid hitches
The free medicines scheme, Mukhyamantri Muft Ilaaj Yojna, that came into force from January 1 in all primary to tertiary level health institutions across the state has come as a breather for a large number of patients. However, people still are facing problems due to less number of outlets for distribution of medicines at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) here.punjab Updated: Jan 17, 2014 18:42 IST
The free medicines scheme, Mukhyamantri Muft Ilaaj Yojna, that came into force from January 1 in all primary to tertiary level health institutions across the state has come as a breather for a large number of patients. However, people still are facing problems due to less number of outlets for distribution of medicines at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) here.
The announcement of free medicines to patients categorised under the general category was among the sops announced by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at the November 10 Gohana rally.
PGIMS, the state's most advanced and largest healthcare institute, on an average receives over 5,000-6,000 patients at its outdoor-patient department (OPD) daily. The institute has only four counters to cater to thousands of beneficiaries of the free medicines scheme and patients have to stand in queues for hours to collect the medicines.
Rajesh Kumar from a village in Jhajjar said, "My wife is six-month pregnant and she is standing in the queue for the last one-and-half hours." He said that his attempt to collect medicines on his wife's behalf didn't work, as the pharmacist said that medicines would be issued to the patient only.
Birender Kumar, who was accompanying his grandfather suffering from a chronic disease, said that he too received the same treatment from the pharmacist.
Dalip Singh Hooda, an octogenarian, suffering from bronchitis said that doctors at the PGIMS sent him to a private diagnostic centre for getting done his CT scan of upper abdomen and throat.
The PGIMS has a tie-up with a private diagnostic centre (City Diagnostic Centre) to do some tests and scans at concessional rates.
Dalip said, "When I went there, doctors told me that rebate for PGIMS patients was applicable only on CT scan of brain and the charges for CT scan of abdomen and throat were Rs 5,000."
Expressing satisfaction, Ram Kumar, who went to PGIMS with his 80-year-old mother, said, "Though, we have to wait in queue for more than two hours, most of the medicines are now available in the pharmacy."
Sharing his concern on the mismanagement at the pharmacy's counters, a senior professor of the medical institute, on condition of anonymity, told HT that the number of counters needed to be expanded four times, and there must be a social monitoring body to ensure the strict implementation of free medicines.
PGIMS medical superintendent Ashok Kumar Chauhan said: "Of the total 400 medicines in the list of essential medicines under the scheme, half are available over the counters in the OPD, and others would soon be available as tenders have been floated already regarding this."
On the less number of counters, he said that the situation would be reviewed before taking action in this regard.
About the scheme
'Mukhyamantri Muft Ilaaj Yojana' is a free healthcare service in all health institutions from primary to tertiary level in the state from January 1, 2014 announced by the chief minister in November.
This scheme is to cover surgeries, drugs, investigations or diagnostic services, ambulance or referral transport services, indoor services and dental treatment at no charges.
First Published: Jan 17, 2014 18:40 IST