Govt to set up cheap drugs shop at five-star Apollo

Govt to set up cheap drugs shop at five-star Apollo

Poor patients will now get medicines at cheaper rates at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, announced the Delhi government on Wednesday.

The health department will open a chemist shop in the hospital premises where medicines will be available at the discounted rate.

Currently, there is a quota of 33 per cent quota for poor patients in the indoor patient department and 40 per cent for those in the OPD in the hospital located in Sarita Vihar.

With poor patients unable to afford expensive medicines and consumables, most beds under the economically weaker section (EWS) category remain vacant in this hospital. Currently, only 7-8 per cent of the total reserved beds for the poor was being utilised.

“Medicines and consumables will be cheaper for poor patients at this hospital by 80 per cent. The remaining amount will be waived off for patients who cannot afford that amount. This will help full utilisation of the free beds for poor,” said state Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

The scheme will be implemented with immediate effect for patients who earn below Rs 1 lakh in a year, he added.

The government is now planning to utilise the 239 beds reserved for the poor at Apollo Hospitals through this scheme.

The case of the hospital providing free medicines to patients is pending before the Supreme Court and the next date of hearing is March 24.

There are also 623 beds in identified 41 private hospitals. To ensure at least 80 per cent of the free beds are occupied, the government is now planning to post representatives in private hospitals. These representatives will send daily reports to the health department on the number of free beds lying vacant.

Recently, the number of free beds being utilised has gone down. At least 50 per cent of the beds are lying vacant currently, said Jain.

Figures show that these hospitals are saving at least Rs 75 crore annually by keeping the EWS beds vacant, he said.

The patient welfare officers (PWOs) appointed last year in batches were terminated in February. The  health department had earlier said the post was created on an experimental basis.

Now, the current government is planning to recruit 85 fresh PWOs in government hospitals for referring patients to private hospitals. Strict action would be taken if poor patients are denied treatment, said Jain.

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