Leading hospitals in Delhi such as Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SRGH) and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital have tied up with banks and post offices to set up extra counters and collect filled application forms to ease the process of exchanging demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
As part of the initiative, private hospitals have also installed dozens of card-swapping machines as patients take to electronic payment as the only option available. The centrally-located SRGH has tied up with the Syndicate Bank and set up three new counters, apart from the existing ones, to reduce the long queues and wait for the exchange of old currency by the patients.
‘Delhi hospitals are co-ordinating every day with the bank officials to make sure that there is no problem for the patients in terms of withdrawing the currency or to exchange.’
"We have given three extra counters and extra security guards for depositing of cash by employees, doctors, patients and their attendants," said D.S Rana, Chairman (Board of Management) at SRGH.
According to Rana, in June, 2015 after a call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for digitisation of payment and official records, SRGH has started e-health cards, being issued to a large chunk of patients, emerging out to be highly beneficial in such a crisis situation in terms of payment.
"This card enables patients to transfer any amount from their (patients) banks to their health cards, which can be used anywhere inside the hospital," said Rana. He further said: "In the OPDs also, five new card-swapping machines have been installed."
Sanjay Goel, head of Syndicate branch at SRGH, said: "We are also going to critical areas inside hospitals where the staff cannot come down and stand in queue for hours and are helping them in collection of cheques, exchanges of money and withdrawal."
The critical areas include Intensive Care Unit (ICUs), Operation Theatre (OTs) and Coronary Care Unit (CCUs). Besides this, the hospital is also accepting credit cards, cheques, demand drafts and RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement).
The central government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML), which has so far been accepting old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 on government instructions, has tied up with Indian Post to further ease the complications of patients in terms of exchanging old notes for new ones and also to deposit cash.
"Two days after the demonetisation decision, we tied up with the Post Office and have been going to each and every patient to collect their application forms for exchange of money and deposits. We collect it in the morning and give them the new currency in the evening," RML spokesperson V.K Sinha told IANS.
RML hospital records an average of 5,000-6,000 patients every day. The hospitals also admitted that the rush of patients has reduced to some extent after the demonetisation decision by the government. The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital has tied up with the Oriental Bank of Commerce to evade the long queue of patients' kin outside banks.
"Looking at the rush outside the bank, that we have within the hospital premises, the number of counters have been increased. We are co-ordinating every day with the bank officials to make sure that there is no problem for the patients in terms of withdrawing the currency or to exchange," said a senior hospital official who wished he not be named.