Though numerous private hospitals have come up in urban areas, some that even have “5-star hotel ambience”, efforts should be made to reach out to the poor in rural areas, said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after inaugurating the 200-bed Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Hospital here on Sunday.

“The medical field has developed, but it still needs to reach the poor… Medical expenditure tops the complaints I receive during my Janata Darshan,” he said.

He added that a near-universal health insurance scheme, taluk-level generic pharmacies, district-level dialysis centres and induction of 94 Arogya kavacha ambulances were in the pipeline.

The hospital, set up by SDM Medical Trust at a cost of Rs. 14 crore, would provide free medicines and check-ups at the outstation wards, said Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D. Veerendra Heggade, who runs the Trust.