IMA, Tripura to address letter to CM appealing reintroduction of free service in OPD, registration and emergency and reduction of rate in other services

By Our Correspondent

Agartala, September 10, 2019: Confronting serious inconvenience in work, public suffering and anger, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Tripura chapter, have decided to address a letter to the chief minister who is also holding the portfolio of health to reconsider the decision on chargeable service in major hospitals of the state. Recently the state government introduced paid service even in OPD, emergency and registration of patients while effecting major hikes in all other services.

An emergency meeting of IMA held today discussed the issue threadbare and many doctors present in the meeting spoke of the difficulties they were facing due to the burden of high fees put on patients by the government on all sectors of services and the fees imposed even for registration, emergency service and OPD. "We who sit in these sections can not but treat these poor patients when they come like in emergency or OPD but we can not do so now, in addition, there is this registration fees; in a poor and backward state like Tripura this is a major problem and as doctors we are in the line of fire; some doctors have even been threatened by patients requiring immediate attention and treatment", many doctors manning hospitals are reported to have stated in the IMA meeting. They also pointed out that the increase in other sectors of health service has also been exorbitant and should be reduced to half.

It came to light in the course of discussion in the meeting that there had been no consultation with doctors, the director of health service and people engaged directly in health service before arriving at this decision. A roll-back of the decision was felt extremely necessary as 'health sector is basically a service sector funded by public money and doctors can not refuse to treat a patient in government hospital simply because he is too poor to pay the required money; this is inhuman and impermissible by medical ethics'.

Finally, the doctors present in the meeting in the largest possible number unanimously decided that a letter will be addressed to the chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb requesting for a thorough review of the decision to impose fees for all possible service. A source privy to the proceedings in the meeting said that in their letter the doctors on behalf of the IMA and people will urge upon the chief minister to do away totally with the charges for OPD, emergency and registration and reduction of all fees in other sectors of service to half of what they have been raised to. 'In a state where a large section of people still live below poverty line such fee structure for government run hospitals where mostly poor patients come for treatment is anything but acceptable' said the source privy to the proceedings in the  crucial IMA meeting held today. The letter will be sent as soon as possible.

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