Mamata pulls up private hospitals for ‘unethical money-making

Kolkata, (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday pulled up city-based private hospitals for excess billing and “unethical” money-making practices and called upon hospital authorities to show a “humane” side.

Banerjee met the top brass of private hospitals (that have 100-plus bed capacity) at Town Hall with a roster of grievances of the public against them, including turning away emergency patients.

She vowed to clamp down on “unethical” practices.

“There is absence of cleanliness and coordination. There is excess billing and some patients are being admitted to ICUs or put on ventilator when these options are not required in their cases.

“Doctors are forcing patients to go for expensive tests and treatments for small issues. Doctors are not to be blamed. They are being forced to bend to the will of hospital authorities and go for pricier treatment,” a stern Banerjee said.

“I will not allow private hospitals to extort money from patients. Have you ever thought how a poor man will pay bills in lakhs (of rupees)? Some people have to sell away every thing to get access to the dead body of a relative. I have reports on unethical practices being carried out at hospitals,” she said.

The Trinamool Congress supremo also put forth peeves by foreign patients who complain about absence of beds and high treatment cost.

“There are patients in Bengal from Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan as well as north-eastern states and Odisha. We have to be humane. Let’s be frank, we should aim for convenience of the people.

“If you feel that you need 100 per cent profit rather than 20 per cent, then it becomes a factory,” she said.

She individually questioned the hospital officials and gave a patient hearing to their responses.

Banerjee recommended e-prescriptions and e-records to be made compulsory.

Opening up fair price diagnostics and medicine facilities and budget sections were also discussed.

Child trafficking and organ donation rackets also figured on the agenda.

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