Lucknow: In what may be termed as a controversial move by a government hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Sciences (SGPGI) Lucknow has started charging people for Covid-19 tests. Not just the tests, but if a patient requires to undergo an operation, then he will also have to shell out charges for minimum 15 PPE kits, N95 masks and gloves among other essentials used for protection from coronavirus. However, the charges for virus test at SGPGI have been capped at Rs 1,500 per person.
Money is being charged from people who are Covid-19 negative, while the test is free if the person is positive
"Yes, we have decided to charge for corona test as the government is paying only for the corona positive patients, so all these tests are not free. We cannot afford the cost of testing all patients anymore. Charges here at PGI are lowest in the city.," SGPGI Director Dr Radha Krishna Dheeman was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, attacking the move by SGPGI, Congress Spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said, “This exposes the dual face of the BJP. On one hand they claim that poor people are getting benefits under Ayushman Bharat Yojana and on the other hand a government hospital is charging money for Covid testing and PPE kits. This is shameful, they should understand that a person goes to a medical facility like PGI only when he is having serious health issues, and with people already facing economic crisis due to lockdown, it will be a double blow for them. This should immediately be stopped, the government must ensure free Covid-19 testing at government hospitals or else tomorrow many more government-run facilities will start charging for coronavirus testing.”
Samajwadi Party MLC Sunil Singh Sajan alleged that it was a loot at every level and the government should specify where the funds are diverted if government hospitals have to charge money from patients. “It is open loot, everyone is looting poor people in whatever way they can. People are already facing bad times and now if a government hospital is charging money for Covid-19 testing then where are the funds going? The government must come clean on this issue and issue clarification on why a government hospital like PGI has to charge for tests and PPE Kits from the patients. What is the difference left between private and government hospitals?” asked Sunil Singh Sajan while speaking to News18.