The people of Delhi can now undergo major medical tests and scans free of cost at 21 private laboratories located in the city. These tests include MRI, PET, CT scans and ultrasounds. These major tests can cost up to Rs. 25,000 in private medical centres.
To avail the treatment, people have to show their identity proof in the form of income certificates and residential proofs like Aadhaar card, ration card or driving licence.
Speaking to The Times of India, Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said, “At present, there is a long waiting period for CT scan and MRIs. In many hospitals, either machines are not in the working condition or there is work-overload, leading to delays … Doctors at 30 state-run hospitals and 23 polyclinics can refer patients to these private centres for tests. We will reimburse them for the cost incurred as per pre-determined rates.”
Critics of the move have argued that it is populist in nature and could lead to strain on the State budget. They have also pointed that it would be a burden on private hospitals and that the government would fare better if it were to buy new machines and improve infrastructure within the public hospital system while leaving the private sector alone.
The public health system in Delhi – and, indeed, India – has been the subject of much criticism due to its sparse infrastructure and inefficiency. Outsourcing major medical scans to private laboratories, the Delhi government has argued, will increase the productivity and inclusivity of healthcare in the city.
At the same time, supporters of the move have applauded it as progressive and a step in the direction of universal healthcare in India. While healthcare in India is in a dismal and non-inclusive condition, it remains a looming crisis but is also absent from political rhetoric.
While healthcare in India is in a dismal and non-inclusive condition, it remains a looming crisis but is also absent from political rhetoric. Supporters of the move hope that it will bring the health care debate in India into the mainstream. It is also important to convey this information to the beneficiaries. In most cases, the people who the schemes are intended for do not even know that they exist.
These are the lists of hospitals and tests involved in the programme.