Mumbai: 20% beds reserved for poor patients but only 6 % benefit in 74 charitable hospitals

Mumbai: In Mumbai, 74 private hospitals that come under the Charity Commission are bound to reserve 20 per cent of the beds for poor patients, who can avail of free treatment in these hospitals. But, as per data provided by the State Charity Commission office, in the last 11 years only six per cent of underprivileged patients have benefited in these charitable hospitals.

The charity commissioner said that this is due to lack of awareness among people about the scheme, under which they can avail of the best possible treatment at these hospitals. “In recent years, the number has witnessed a slight increase as we are creating awareness about the scheme in public hospitals,” said Shivkumar Dighe, the charity commissioner. He added that Mumbai’s share in providing treatment to poor patients across the state should have been higher as it is home to over of the 20 largest charitable hospitals in the state.

According to data compiled from September 2006 to December 2017, hospitals across Maharashtra provided concessional treatment to 70,94,547 patients. However, only 4,56,750 of them were treated in Mumbai. This happened despite Mumbai having 74 out of 430 charitable hospitals in the state and 1,768 of the approximately 10,000 reserved beds.

Doctors from the hospital association said that they have treated all the underprivileged who have come for treatment to their hospital. “We have put up boards and large posters in hospitals to inform people about the scheme,” added Dr PM Bhujang, President, Hospital Association. However, public health experts said that it is the lack of deterrents and monitoring that enables large charitable hospitals to avoid treating these patients.

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