Pay wards at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) have been gaining steady patronage particularly among the middle-income groups.
The need for privacy, comfort and space has resulted in a healthy demand for these wards which were introduced in 2008.
At any given time, 80 per cent of the beds in the pay wards are occupied, said hospital dean V. Kanagasabai. In 2008, the number of patients admitted to pay wards was 1,842 and this increased to 4,580 in 2012.
The pay wards constitute 133 rooms with 200 beds and are situated in the twin tower blocks of GH. They are priced at Rs. 200 per bed a day in a four-sharing room, Rs. 300 per bed in a twin-sharing room and Rs. 600 for an airconditioned single room. The rates have remained unchanged since 2008.
“The pay wards are a boon for patients from the middle-income groups. They mostly prefer the airconditioned single rooms. Those in the lower income groups too seek pay wards. The rooms have extra cots for patients’ attendants and separate toilets,” Dr. Kanagasabai said.
Except for the room tariff, patients in the pay ward too do not have to spend on consultation, treatment, surgeries or drugs.
Patients admitted to the surgical specialties of orthopaedics, general, neurology, plastic, vascular, cardio-thoracic, urology, ENT and surgical gastroenterology can use the pay wards. General medicine, thoracic medicine, medical oncology, dermatology, venerology, diabetology and geriatric medicine are among the medical specialties that offer the pay ward facility.
Orthopaedic surgery emerged as the top user department with 976 patients during January-October 2012 followed by medical oncology (599) and general surgery (558).
“The pay wards are maintained well and have better facilities,” said a patient. The relative of another patient said the pay wards offered privacy which cannot be expected of a general ward.
Surplus funds from the pay wards are used for improvement of the hospital on a priority basis and decided upon by the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation. Collection of maintenance charges rose from Rs. 98,04,200 in 2008 to Rs. 2,20,49,000 in 2012, according to hospital authorities.