It seems that the public would have to wait some more to gain access to all the health services offered by Cochin Medical College. V Geetha, Director of Medical Education (DME), confirmed that a decision on whether services such as X-ray and other lab services, along with generic drugs, which were scheduled to be provided free of charge from March 1, could be taken only after assessing the financial obligations the hospital will have once it is shifted from cooperative sector to the public sector.
“We are initiating each procedure one by one. We have already sent the index on drug requirements to Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL). Likewise, the call on whether the X-ray and lab services could be provided free of charge from March 1 could be taken only after assessing the hospital’s financial obligation, which will definitely take time. There are bound to be procedural lags. The services will definitely be made free of charge eventually. But a fixed date in this regard cannot be given now,” she said. She confirmed that a Government Order in this regard is yet to be issued.
Though the Health Minister announced that the services offered by the hospital will be free from March 1, the special officer’s take on the issue that only generic drug would be provided free while X-ray and other lab services will be charged, has created confusion.
Protesting against this, Justice V R Krishna Iyer has already shot a letter to the Chief Minister, the Health Minister and KPCC president V M Sudheeran, seeking their immediate intervention. Volunteers of the Justice Krishna Iyer campaign for Kochi Cancer centre alleged that there is a conspiracy to undermine the efforts being made to bring the Kalamassery college under the public sector. “The Health Minister had announced that all benefits and schemes available in other medical colleges will be available at Cochin Medical College from March 1. The time lag suggests that there have been no substantial efforts to adhere to the promises,” they alleged.