By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 4: Health minister zrul Islam today said the State government has decided to categorise private hospitals and regulate charges of medical tests.
"As per the Act, we cannot fix the charges. But what we can do is lay down a certain range so that the hospitals cannot charge arbitrarily," Islam said.
His response came when AGP MLA Keshav Mahanta, during Question Hour at the Assembly today, pointed to differential pricing of tests in private hospitals and laboratories.
"Patients have to wait in long queues in government hospitals for getting their tests done. That is why most of them go to private diagnostic centres and laboratories where charges are very high," Mahanta said.
The Health minister admitted that private health-care in the State has been largely unregulated, and said it was "high time" to tame the private institutions, diagnostic centres and laboratories.
Keshav Mahanta also pointed out that around fifty government hospitals are going without doctors and nurses.
The minister, while admitting shortage of medical staff, said the gap is expected to be filled once the new batch of doctors comes out of the medical colleges.
"Right now, to meet the shortage, we are shuffling the personnel and making ad-hoc arrangements," Islam said, also admitting of "political pressure" in transfer and posting of doctors.