New Delhi, March 2 : Residents of Delhi can now get free radiology tests in 21 private labs if they are referred to by Delhi government hospitals, it was announced on Thursday.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told an event here that another scheme would be rolled out in a week under which surgeries could also be done in private hospitals for free.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had in December announced the free diagnostic tests for those residing in Delhi for the past three years and whose annual family income was under Rs 3 lakh.
Both these conditions have been now scrapped, Jain said.
Calling it a historic move, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed satisfaction at being able to see "the dream with which we came into politics turn into reality".
He said people who witnessed a waiting list up to three years for various tests and surgeries would now get treatment in time.
The AAP leader said the public health and public education models of Delhi would set an example not just for the nation but the whole world.
"Every government's first responsibility is to provide quality education and healthcare to all its citizens," Kejriwal said.
He added the responsibility was even bigger with private healthcare getting more expensive by the day.
Health Minister Jain said Delhi residents, if referred to by Delhi government hospitals, can get their diagnostic tests including MRI, PET and CT Scan done for free in 21 private centres. The government will reimburse these centres.
Some of these tests cost up to Rs 25,000 at private labs.
Similarly, if the waiting for surgeries in Delhi government hospitals exceeded a month, these too can be carried out in 41 hospitals accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) and registered with the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).
The Delhi government will again reimburse these hospitals.
Any of the 25 Delhi government hospitals, 23 polyclinics and five society hospitals in the city can refer patients to these private labs for diagnostic tests.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia lauded Jain for his "courageous and creative" solution for long queues at hospitals for surgeries and diagnostic tests.
He promised Jain, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, there would be no shortage of funds for the scheme.
During the event, many patients received immediate appointments for various diagnostic tests, including Mohammad Wasim who earlier had an appointment for MRI scan for December 2018.