Saturday, May 19, 2012

BEWARE of Touts

‘ Poster boys’ help patients shake off Capital touts

By Neetu Chandra in New Delhi

EVERY day, a number of people fall prey to touts and middlemen.
In most cases the touts take advantage of their gullibility to dupe them of their money.
Railway stations and hospitals are some areas where such cases are more prevalent.
But now the authorities at Guru Ballabh Pant ( GB Pant) hospital have hit upon a plan to make the public aware of such fraudsters who fool patients by promising them various services in return of money.
The GB Pant administration has put up posters at various places inside the hospital premises urging people to be careful of such touts. The posters are accompanied by photographs of those who have been caught in the past and handed over to the police. These touts have been known to demand money for helping patients consult doctors, carry out tests and find them beds.

“ Beware! There are some people roaming in the hospital premises carrying fake identity cards and are without hospital dresses. They are duping patients and their relatives. There are many touts roaming around in the hospital.

Beware of them. We need your help in catching them,” the posters claim.
Such posters abound outside the outpatient department ( OPD) wards in the hospital along with photographs of those who have been caught by the authorities.

As the flow of patients in the hospital increases, getting hold of a doctor for consultation becomes increasingly difficult.
Often people have to wait for hours. It is here that the touts step in. They charge anywhere near ` 500 for helping a patient find a doctor for consultation and ` 1,000 and beyond for getting the person a hospital bed.

“ We doubt some hospital employees are involved in this,” Sunil Sood, general secretary of the GB Pant hospital employees union, said.

There’s another poster which carries details of a person named Raju. The poster shows him with a fake hospital identity card and mentions that he was caught in March 2011 duping patients.

“ He was found duping patients claiming to be an employee of the hospital.

After he was caught, we handed him over to the police,” the poster reads.
Sood said the touts target those patients who are in dire need of treatment.

“ Because of the shortage of beds and heavy rush in the hospital, the patients are forced to wait. It is then that these touts strike, taking advantage of the patients’ eagerness to beat the rush. They fix up a deal with some hospital staff and facilitate the treatment.

This has to be tackled seriously.

That’s why we asked hospital authorities to put up posters all over the hospital to make patients and their relatives aware of such malpractices so that they don’t get duped,” Sood said.
Run by the Delhi government, GB Pant hospital is a tertiary care referral centre meant to provide state of the art superspecialty medical and surgical care in the field of cardiology, cardio- thoracic surgery, neurology, neuro- surgery, gastroenterology, gastrointestinal surgery and psychiatry.

On an average, 2,000 patients attend the OPD daily. Hundreds of patients come from outside Delhi and they are the ones most sought after for the touts.

“ Wary of these touts, we thought of putting up posters informing the patients of the same.

We have also added photos and names of those who have been caught in the past.

We want to maintain transparency so that we can provide the best possible healthcare to the patients,” a senior administrative official said.

‘ Because of shortage of beds & heavy rush, patients are forced to wait. It is then that these touts take advantage’


On an average, up to 2,000 patients attend the OPD at GB Pant hospital

Touts take advantage of the rush to charge anywhere near ` 500 for helping a patient find a doctor for consultation and ` 1,000 and beyond for getting the person a hospital bed

Hospital authorities have now put up posters warning patients and their relatives not to get duped by touts

Involvement of some hospital staff is suspected in this malpractice

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