AIIMS to stop charging for X-Rays, tests costing under Rs500

Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is preparing to make X-Rays and other tests costing less than Rs500 free of charge.

This comes after a study conducted by the hospital revealed that patients spend a considerable amount of money in travelling from their residence to the hospital for such tests, in addition to the cost of food, lodging, and other charges.

The study comes in the wake of Union health ministry's direction to the AIIMS to provide information about user charges, which haven't been changed in last 20 years, according to reports.

The study reveals that the patients travel from their residents to the hospital and wait in queues for hours for their appointment. Some patients also have to make multiple visits to the hospital for their treatment, which add to their costs.

A Delhi patient may have to spend a minimum of Rs1,900 on every visit to the AIIMS, while the patients from outside Delhi have to spend Rs4,300 per visit an average, found the study, which was conducted on 456 patients.  Of these, 234 were Delhiites, while 222 were outsiders.

Of the test group, 63.8 per cent had come to AIIMS for a single consultation, while 31.9 per cent needed for multiple consultations.

The survey also highlighted the inconvenient process of accessing various services, which includes registration at the patient reception centre.

The committee, headed by the head of the gastroenterology department Dr Anoop Saraya, submitted its report to the union health ministry which recommended increasing the private ward charges to up to Rs5,000 per day to make up for the loss, as their rates are cheaper than the semi-private ward charges in corporate hospitals.

''It is recommended that the user charges on low cost investigations (below Rs 500 per test) should be eliminated,'' Dr Saraya said.