The government controlled hospitals in West Bengal will no longer provide free services to people from other states. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday at Kolkata.
“Free treatment in state-run hospitals is unique in Bengal. We have noticed that people from neighbouring states and even some neighbouring countries utilise this facility. But considering the financial constraints of the state government, it will no more be possible to provide free treatment to these patients,” said the chief minister at the sixth convention of the West Bengal University of Health Sciences.
The Chief Minister also announced that a special card will be introduced for the residents of the state. Only the special card holders will be entitled to free treatment at various government hospitals in the state, while the others would have to pay for their services.
A health department official said though the pricing details of the services are yet to be worked out, it will certainly be less than that charged by private hospitals.
The health department official, who did not wish to be named, said that on an average, about 20% of the patients getting free treatment are from other states and countries.
“A majority of these patients are from Bihar, Jharkhand, eastern UP, Bangladesh and Nepal,” he said.
Banerjee also criticised the Union HRD ministry for the question paper fiasco in the NEET examination 2018.
“Examinees from Bengal did not get question papers in Bengali language. In certain cases, the number of question papers was fewer than the number of examinees. I have already written a letter to the Union HRD minister registering our protest,” she said.
(With inputs from Hindustan times)