‘Pay beds’ for middle-class patients

BMC, to encourage middle-class patients to use civic hospitals instead of paying a fortune at private ones, has decided to offer 'pay beds' with better facilities at its hospitals.

The civic body will introduce this initiative at Cooper, Kandivali Shatabdi and Jogeshwari Trauma hospitals, reserving 75 beds. In the second phase, it plans to include Bhagwati Hospital in the project.

"These beds will not be in regular wards. They will be in double or triple occupancy rooms with attached toilets and have the facility to house a visitor inside the room," said Dr Seema Malik, chief medical superintendent of peripheral hospitals.

"The middle-class generally shuns public hospitals because it doesn't like the atmosphere in a general ward and the idea of common toilets. Such patients like some privacy and turn to private hospitals but are not able to afford their charges," Malik said. A patient will need to pay a nominal charge, which is yet to be decided.

Overall, BMC has raised its budget allocation for upgrading healthcare services by about 7 per cent to Rs 2,508.62 crore for 2013-14. However, the capital allocation for health last fiscal was highly under-utilised with the civic body having spent only 11 per cent of Rs 2,341.65 crore budgeted last year.

BMC, which has a capacity of 4,939 beds, plans to enhance its patient-handling capacity. It will, this month, introduce 75-bed chemotherapy services at Nair Hospital and enhance oncology services at the hospital.

It also plans to commission the first hospital for drug resistant tuberculosis with 200 beds on Sewri TB hospital campus and will provide 50 dialysis beds in early 2013.

Besides, BMC is creating 620 additional beds in suburbs.

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