Students, patients to bear burden as Centre proposes to hike fees, patient user charges at AIIMS

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Medical studies at countries top notch institute All India Institute of Medical Sciences to get costlier if the current proposal of central government to increase annual fees and patient charges gets final  implementation nod.

Following the Centre’s instructions to the country’s top government medical institutions, becoming a doctor at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences could become ten times costlier and patient fees will be hiked to recover current costs of providing services.

The health ministry has also asked the institute to increase the user charges for various diagnostic procedures like blood tests, X-Rays and OPD charges for patients.

The decision comes amid students’ protest over the drastic hike in the hostel fees and introduction of several other charges in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Last week, the Union Health Ministry directed the Central Institute Body (CIB) of six AIIMS, in the country to begin the process of reviewing tuition fees and fix uniform charges for various facilities for patients.

“In pursuance of the directions of the Government of India (Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), AIIMS Delhi is required to review all fees and user charges in the institute,” said a letter from AIIMS Financial Adviser, as quoted by various media reports.

The CIB has instructed its various departments and sections to submit details of charges, actual current cost and the reasons for setting user charges lower than the current costs.

One of the health ministry official on anonymity highlighted that the institute has not increased the user charges for diagnostic procedures for the past 25 years. The health ministry official has also stated that it has not revised the tuition fees for the past 50 years.

AIIMS provides the cheapest medical education in the country. The current MBBS programme just cost ?6,000 per student, which includes tuition, hostel and all other charges for the five-year programme.

The officials in the Human Resource Development ministry said that it plans to raise the fees to ?50,000 – ?70,000 per year, reported New Indian Express

The AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association has expressed its disapproval towards the health ministry’s decision.

The association president, Dr Amarinder Malhi, in a statement, said, “We, the resident doctors, are against the memorandum issued by the administration. We are against any increase in the tuition fees of students and user charges for patients in all medical institutes.”

AIIMS RDA said that they are with the quality and affordable education for all sections of the society and will not allow the government or any organisation to compromise it.

As per report in The Logical Indian , 
“I don’t understand why the government is trying to increase the patients’ fee. In 2017, a committee under Dr Anoop Saraya recommended to give away with the charges on diagnostic procedures like blood tests, ultrasound and X-rays,” said a former president of Resident Doctors’ Association – Harjit Singh Bhatti.

The AIIMS Resident Doctors Association have already opposed the proposal to aiming to revise  tuition fees, asserting that quality education and healthcare are building blocks of society.

In 2017 to review the user charges an internal committee had recommended against charging money for tests and procedures which cost less than ?500 at the institutes. The committee instead suggested increasing the charges of private wards to make up for the loss.

“Many students join AIIMS with a dream to become a doctor. If there is fee hike then a lot of the students will have to bear the brunt”, said Mukul Kumar, president of the Student’s Union of AIIMS- Delhi.

Talking on the proposal of hiking user charges, Mukul said that AIIMS is burdened with patients. “If you compare the charge of various diagnostic test and compare it with other diagnostics labs, you will know why people from weaker section prefer AIIMS over other hospitals,” Mukul noted.

AIIMS Delhi and other AIIMS established by the central government forms an important pillar of country's healthcare system and any decision to increase academic feees and treatment charges will definitely have a huge impact on large number of population which depends upon these hospitals for their healthcare amenities. Medogle is of the view that any action in this regard taken by the Central Health Ministry will definitely consider the interests of the common public.

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