Railway’s Health Directorate’s new circular confirms closure of hospitals, employees cry foul

TRICHY: Consequent to the decision taken by the railway ministry to close hospitals as per the recommendations of the Bibek Debroy committee, guidelines have been issued for entitlement of wards in railway empanelled hospitals for beneficiaries based on their pay drawn as per the 7th pay commission. Meanwhile, railway employees alleged that the entitlement should be based on the treatment one undergoes and not on the basis of salary.

Railway’s Health Directorate’s new circular confirms closure of hospitals, employees cry foul

A letter in this regard was circulated to all the zonal General Managers by the Joint Director (II) of Health, Railway Board H K Sanhotra dated May 11.

Accordingly, employees getting up to Rs 47,600 salary will be allotted general wards at the railway empanelled hospitals. Employees drawing up to Rs 63,100 will be allotted semi-private ward while private wards will be allotted only for those who are getting a salary of Rs 63,101 and above.

The letter has also been forwarded to the chief medical directors/officers, all Indian Railways/ production units and the Principal Finance Advisor, all Indian Railways/ production units.

It is to be noted that as per instruction is given by the railway ministry dated December 23, 2016, the ceiling for entitlement was Rs 13,950, Rs 19,350 and Rs 19,540 and above for general, semi-general and private wards respectively.

Meanwhile, railway employees said that the wards should be allotted based on emergency and not by the salary. As of now, patients are admitted to the hospital and get wards based on treatment that is to be administered. As per the committee recommendation, everything would be on the basis of salary. It is unfair and against human rights, said a railway employee who did not wish to be named.

“Low paid, underprivileged should be given preference at the empanelled hospitals, as they cannot afford to spend more money in private hospitals. But, here the reality is entirely different. This is not acceptable,” he added.

As per the recommendations, almost all the employees, that is 90% of them will get only general ward, irrespective of the treatment. Meanwhile, most of the private hospitals in major towns and cities have few general wards with limited beds, as room rent is a major source of revenue for them, said deputy general secretary of Dakshin Railway Employees Union (DREU), D Manoharan.

“Allotment of a cabin on the basis of salary is also not a good decision. Pregnant women in eclampsia condition are allowed to stay in private rooms. Out of six cabins in Ponmalai railway hospital in Trichy, one is used for this purpose. If this is the case in private hospitals, they will only follow the contract norms. This will in no way benefit the employees,” Manoharan said.

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