Only 170 poor got free treatment at private hospitals in three years
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act states that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has signed agreements with some select private hospitals to ensure free medical treatment of the urban poor. Under the agreement, the PMC offers 0.5 additional floor space index (FSI) to private hospitals for construction of their buildings and in return the hospitals have to reserve 10 per cent beds for the urban poor.
The reply to the application shows that till now four private hospitals have benefitted from the agreement and in return they should have ensured a total of 27 beds every day for the free treatment of poor.
The applicant said that as per the received information, around 10,000 poor patients should have benefitted every year from the facility and in three years the number of beneficiaries should be 28,400. But as per the reply, in past three years only 170 poor patients (less than 1%) have been treated free of cost under the said scheme. The number of beneficiaries, as revealed by the reply, was 68 in 2011-12, 64 in 2012-13 and 38 in 2013-14.
The applicant said that the main reason behind such poor figures is the lack of awareness among the poor regarding the facility. He suggested that the information regarding the scheme and eligibility criteria should be put up for public viewing in all civic hospitals, ward offices, civic headquarters and the concerned private hospitals.