The charges for utilising the services of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the ventilator, which were dispensed with during the Covid crisis, have been reinstated at the Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram.
The charges will be Rs 500 for the ICU and Rs 1,000 for the ventilator for each day of use. Patients in a critical state are admitted to the ICU, and those in extremely serious condition are put on the ventilator to sustain their lives. These services will be free for holders of the below poverty line (BPL) ration cards. Persons belonging to higher income categories will have to pay the charges. The sudden resumption of the charges has proved to be a burden for the common people admitted to the ICU and on the ventilator. The patients are required to pay the charges each day for using the facilities.
For those patients who find it difficult to even buy medicines, raising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 a day is a huge burden. In addition to buying medicines and meeting daily expenses, the family members of the patients admitted to the ICU and on the ventilator are now forced to raise money to make the payments each day. The hospital superintendent, Dr A Nizaruddin, clarified that the charges that were dropped during the Covid crisis have only been reinstated.
The rates of charges effective before the Covid pandemic have been restored. The decision was taken on the directive of the government. These charges were dropped during the Covid period, and it is only now that they have been restored, he said. At the same time, there are allegations that the government has restored the charges in its bid to fill its coffers as it is facing a severe financial crisis.