New Delhi: After reports that private hospitals here were overcharging to conduct dengue tests, the Delhi government on Wednesday fixed a maximum fee of Rs.600 for tests at private hospitals, a minister said.
"We have come to know that private hospitals are overcharging for dengue tests. That is why we've decided to fix a cap on these tests for the private hospitals and laboratories. Nobody can charge anything beyond this rate," said Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain.
The state government has also instructed private hospitals to increase their bed count by 10 to 20 percent within a week.
"If the private hospitals successfully increase the number of beds, there will be an average increase of at least 3,000 beds for patients in the capital. These will be used only for fever and dengue patients and no private hospital should turn away patients," he said.
There are three tests for dengue - NS1 antigen test, dengue antibody test and the platelet count test. The government has fixed a cap of Rs.600 each for the first two tests and Rs.50 for platelet count test, the minister said.
According to the Delhi government, there are a total of 10,000 beds in state-run hospitals, 20,000 in municipal and central government-run hospitals, and 20,000 more in private hospitals.
Reacting to the recent deaths in the capital because of Dengue, he said: "This is not an outbreak but people are in panic. I appeal to the people to try and avoid mosquito bite during day time. People should understand their responsibility. They shouldn't let water collect in pots, pots, tyres and utensils."
He also urged people not to indulge in "self medication" and said people should "take medicines only on the prescription of doctors".
"But they should not pressurize hospitals to get themselves admitted. If a doctor feels a patient needs to be admiited, he will do it," said Jain.
About shortage of beds at Safdarjung hospital, Jain said: "I have spoken to (Union Health Minister) J.P. Nadda yesterday (Tuesday) and requested him to look into the matter."