PUNE: Rugn Adhikar Sanghatana (Patient Rights Group) was established on Monday by NGO Adhar Arogya Foundation to address problems faced by economically challenged patients at private hospitals.
Adhar Arogya Foundation’s Umesh Chavan said that it has been observed that even with a lot of schemes available for poor patients, many people from economically weaker sections are not able to afford the treatment.
“With just one government hospital in the city, most patients are forced to go to private hospitals for better treatment, where they are charged exorbitantly and not treated well if they face problems in paying bills on time,” said Chavan.
He added that volunteers, who visit private hospitals to help poor patients with schemes, have witnessed that many hospitals harass relatives of the patients for money.
“Presently, for treating a disease like malaria or swine flu, the cost ranges from Rs 14 lakh to Rs 20 lakh or more in private hospitals. Considering the rising medical treatment cost, the cover of Rs 1 lakh given by PMC to needy families is very low and must be increased to Rs 2 lakh,” said Chavan.
He added the Indigent Patients Fund (IPF) most times is unable to provide funds to patients. “The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund also needs to be increased from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. We would fight for these demands through the Patient Rights Group,” said Chavan.
Advocate Vaishali Chandane said, “Even in a government hospital, treatment is not completely free and patients have to shell out for X-rays or lab tests. It seems that even public hospitals are moving towards privatisation, which is sad.” The NGO has also demanded that the cost of medicines and injections must be controlled.