Shastry V. Mallady

No user charges in government hospitals; land cannot be leased out

Decision conveyed to health officials Membership to society not automatic

MADURAI: The State Government has deleted the `controversial' clauses in its order pertaining to patient welfare societies in Primary Health Centres/Government hospitals.

It has made it clear that hospital land will not be leased out to private units nor will user charges be collected from patients.

The clause permitting to societies to raise loans from financial institutions has also been dropped.

These decisions were taken following objections from various quarters.

P. Padmanaban, Director of Public Health, told The Hindu on Friday that the Government made these amendments to the G.O. issued by the Health and Family Welfare department on November 27 and they had been conveyed to district health officials at a meeting held in Chennai on Thursday.

The changes had to be made due to the apprehensions among people about the original order that had a mention about user charges, loans, leasing out of hospital land and partnership with private parties, among other things.

The Government also made it clear that a person could not become a member of the governing body of the society by simply making donations.

Also, donations made to societies must be periodically informed to the Health Department officials of the State Government.

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