Health Minister says GMC is overloaded and decision was overdue; Will outsource the kitchen and canteen of GMC
PANJIM: Goa government is firm on its decision to charge non-Goan patients for medical facilities they avail in Goan hospitals.
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said, “Goa Medical College will not be a free highway for medical treatment for anybody but we will also not deny anybody treatment.”
Rane has formed a committee of doctors and officials that will provide details of the fees for the procedures in GMC and other hospitals by October 25.
He said, “We cannot afford to give angioplasty and angiography free of cost. People are coming from Sawantwadi and Karwar and the load is increasing on GMC and therefore the waiting period for treatment is increasing. We cannot afford to give superspeciality treatment free of cost to non-Goans.”
Citing examples of Maharashtra where a non-Maharashtrian has to pay for the treatment, he said when Goans don’t get free treatment there, then let them also pay for the treatment here. Rane further denied that the state hospitals will not want to be empanelled by others states.
He said, “We are here to provide benefit to Goans but that does not mean that we will deprive the others who come from outside. This decision has been long pending and had to be taken. GMC has been overloaded and unless we take precautionary measures, it will collapse.”
He said the Medical Superintendent and head of department will be given powers to exempt the poor or the labour class who cannot pay for the treatment. “These cases will have to be informed to the department so that we know on a monthly basis how much free treatment we have given,” he added.
The government has also decided to outsource the kitchen and canteen of GMC. Rane said a committee has been formed to study and a single tender will be floated. “It will be end to end service where the agency which will cook the food will be responsible for serving the patients, having dieticians, separate canteens for doctors and relatives of patients without any extra cost to the government. The staff currently working will be redeployed in other departments,” he added.
Meanwhile, welcoming the State government’s decision to charge non-Goans for services in GMC and state-run hospitals, the IMA Goa unit has urged the Health Minister to tie up with neighbouring States for extending their medical scheme facilities to their people seeking treatment in Goa.
“We urge him to start it as early as possible,” IMA State President Dr Medha Salkar said in a statement on Wednesday. She stated that non-Goan patients burden the government health sector.
From December 1 this year all non-Goans will have to pay a nominal fee to avail facilities in the State run hospitals, as proposed by the government.
Salkar pointed out that all neighbouring states have health schemes and urged the Health Minister to tie up with Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh governments so that the scheme benefits can be extended to their patients availing benefits in government hospitals in Goa.
“This will help poor patients get the right treatment as well as help State in getting financial support from other states,” she said.
IMA Goa said that till a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed with the neighbouring States, the government should make Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva (DDSSY) cards mandatory for availing the benefits. “For absolutely below poverty line, free treatment can be granted while others to be charged as per DDSSY scheme,” she said.
He further said “I’ve done a cost analysis on how much we are spending on every patient in the GMC. First we will have to put the basic in order. We will strengthen the GMC and the district hospitals.”