The Kerala government on Thursday decided to set up a 'trauma care' policy to ensure that both state-run and private sector hospitals do not charge any money for two days from road accident victims.
This was decided at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The meeting was called after a few cases surfaced when patients who got injured in road accidents were not given proper treatment by both the state and privately-run hospitals.
A note issued by Vijayan's office said that the new policy guidelines would soon be ready and it will include specific directions that not a single rupee should be collected from the patient or their relatives.
The government plans to reimburse the cost of the treatment by first paying the hospitals and later getting it back from insurance companies. Vijayan is to call a meeting of officials of all insurance companies to decide on the issue.
As part of the programme, advanced trauma care facilities would be launched in government medical colleges, district and taluk hospitals and major private medical care institutions.
An official statement said that a set of relief programmes, including meeting the initial treatment expenses by the government itself, is under consideration.
"The government will give away the amount for emergency treatment within the initial 48 hours. The plan is to collect the amount back from insurance companies concerned," the statement said.
The chief minister has directed that private hospitals should use the Road Safety Fund to meet the victims’ initial treatment expenses.
"Treatment should not be denied to any accident victim, brought to hospitals. The practice of providing treatment based on the financial capacity of victims should end," Vijayan said.
Official sources said that special ambulances with advanced facilities would be launched to take accident victims to hospital immediately.
Besides the budget allocations, Kerala Road Safety Fund and the social responsibility fund of Kerala State Road Transport Project will be used to launch the new trauma care programme.
(With IANS inputs)