BENGALURU: Owing to currency demonetization, patients at private hospitals in the city were hit as many had come from villages outside Bengaluru and had no bank accounts to make online or card transactions. Doctors questioned the rationale of the government allowing only government hospitals and government pharmacies to accept `500 and `1,000 notes and that too only with a prescription.
Dr Sharan Patil, chairman of Sparsh Hospitals, said, “In all our units, 22 major procedures were postponed because the patients couldn’t pay up, 25 emergency procedures were done on credit, 30 discharges were postponed because patients did not have currency in the right denomination to settle bills and 14 in-patients were given medicines from our pharmacy on credit. Six admissions were made without payment. They had come from distant places for knee and hip replacement. We couldn’t turn them away. These are patients from Kalaburagi, Raichur, Chitradurga and Ballari.”
Sparsh has hospitals in Davangere and three in Bengaluru.
I S Prasad, a chartered accountant associated with BW Lions Super Specialty Eye Hospital, off JC Road, said, “How can the government discriminate between patients in government and private hospitals? I have tweeted and also emailed the prime minister. Cancer patients and others requiring life saving drugs can’t be denied medicines at private medical shops merely because they don’t have change.”
Fortis Healthcare, in a press statement, said, “In view of the hardship being caused to the large number of patients at private hospitals, we have made an urgent representation to the government that this exemption should apply equally, for payments, at private hospitals... As per government regulation, a PAN card and legitimate ID proof is required for payments in cash exceeding `50,000.”