If you are admitted to a private hospital in the Capital with dengue and need blood, it will pay to hone your bargaining skills. In a city grappling with price rise, the medical sector too hasn’t been left unaffected with services offered at highly escalated rates leaving many patients upset but with little option.
Sample this. If you are admitted to one of the private hospitals and need “single donor” blood platelets you could get a jumbo pack for anything between Rs.10,000 and 15,000 or more depending on the processing charges of the hospital. Of course, in a government hospital the patient pays a maximum of Rs.10,000 which is inclusive of the processing fee for the same unit of blood platelets.
“The city has a huge deficit and the need for blood goes up during the dengue season when pressure on blood providing agencies is very high. Those with rare blood groups are the worst hit and we find it difficult to sustain the round-the-clock demand for blood. Working on motivating more people to become donors is the only solution to the problem,’’ says a Rotary International Blood Bank member.
Patients have a tough time shelling out money for blood which is in short supply and what adds to their woes is the fact that there is no agency which regulates what they charge for it in the name of “processing fee”, he adds.
“This happens because ‘processing charge’ is not covered by any agency, neither the Drug Controller nor any rules laid down by the State Government. Though the National Aids Control Organisation had tried to bring in some sort of uniformity, private hospitals and blood providers reason that since the government does not provide any manpower and equipment they cannot dictate terms and conditions to them. We have brought up the matter of needing uniformity in prices and hope that something will be done about this matter soon,’’ says Bharat Singh, Director of the Delhi Government’s State Blood Transfusion Council.
“We understand that patients face a tough time understanding the disparity in what is charged in the name of ‘processing fee’ from one hospital to the other. The processing fee is decided primarily on the percentage of profit that the medical service provider wants to make on the cost that he has incurred to provide the service, so we advise patients to be aware of this factor and ensure that they use their power as any other consumer buying a product in the market,’’ says a senior physician and Delhi Medical Council member.