A unique gesture of a bank on Monday at the Regional Cancer Centre here saw nearly 400 patients heaving a sigh of relief, with the bank taking over the bills for the day.

The State Bank of Travancore (SBT), as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities, made the gesture, taking several patients and their attendants by surprise.

The patients, when they handed over the money for treatment expenses to the hospital cashier, were told that their bills were already paid.

According to the SBT, 396 patients benefited from this gesture, with the total amount being paid by the bank on their behalf mounting up to Rs.11.65 lakh. This included bills ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.1 lakh, bank officials said.

Patients who did not receive any financial assistance from the government or other organisations, and those from other States, were extended the SBT’s helping hand.

And all schemes available at the RCC were restricted to people from Kerala.

Since the bank wanted the assistance to benefit maximum number of patients, the RCC was asked to identify a day with maximum headcounts, as a result of which Monday was decided upon and the RCC itself identified the patients eligible for the gesture.