Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to instruct Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, to withdraw its decision to introduce user charges for medical investigations and procedures and revert to the earlier practice of offering free services to the public.

In her letter to the Prime Minister, which was released to the media here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said it was brought to her notice that JIPMER had introduced user charges for various medical investigations and procedures, which would badly affect poor patients not only from Puducherry but also from neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu like Cuddalore, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai, who have been availing themselves of health care services free of cost in this institution.

She recalled that the AIADMK had vehemently opposed the Bill to convert JIPMER into an autonomous institution in Parliament, even at the introduction stage in 2008.

Overruling the AIADMK’s objections, the Bill was passed with an assurance that the existing free services to the public would be continued without any change.

User charges

Introduction of user charges for routine investigations and medical procedure amounted to reneging on the solemn assurance given in Parliament, she said and demanded the Prime Minister’s intervention to enable JIPMER to offer free services again in the interests of people of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.