State-funded hospitals in West Bengal will no longer offer free treatment to people from outside the state and people from other countries, announced Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday.
“Free treatment in state-run hospitals is unique in Bengal. We have noticed that people from neighbouring states and even some neighbouring countries utilise this facility. But considering the financial constraints of the state government, it will no more be possible to provide free treatment to these patients,” said the chief minister while adressing a gathering at the West Bengal University of Health Sciences.
A special health card will be given to people of West Bengal for free treatment at state-run hospitals, she announced, adding, “This card will be given only to the residents of Bengal”.
The pricing details of the services are yet to be finalised but it will be lesser than that charged by private hospitals, an official from the health department said
On an average, about 20 per cent of the patients enjoying free treatment are from other state and countries, said the official.
“A majority of these patients are from Bihar, Jharkhand, eastern UP, Bangladesh and Nepal,” he said.
Banerjee also lashed out at the Union HRD Ministry for the exam paper fiasco in the NEET examination 2018.
“Examinees from Bengal did not get question papers in Bengali language. In certain cases, the number of question papers was fewer than the number of examinees. I have written to the Union HRD minister registering our protest,” she said.