HC notice to Punjab Government on PIL seeking broadbasing Cancer Relief Fund Scheme

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A division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Justices S.S. Saron and Lisa Gill, on Thursday, issued notices to Punjab Government, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, and Punjab Health Systems Corporation, Mohali  for September 27 in PIL filed by Advocate H.C. Arora, who sought broad-basing and enlargement of Punjab CM Cancer Relief Fund Scheme.

The petitioner stated that scheme involves cashless treatment of cancer patients, who must be residents of Punjab, in recognized hospitals, up to an amount of Rs.1.50 lakh and if a patient is not recovered and is left without any further cashless treatment, once the earmarked amount of Rs.1.50 lakhs is exhausted by the concerned recognised hospital.

If such a patient belongs to BPL Family, he can avail financial assistance under another Scheme (Nirogi Scheme), which takes some time and therefore, results into discontinuance of treatment of such patient.

According to petitioner, giving up the treatment of a cancer patient mid-way amounts to cruelty. Thus, benefit of cashless treatment should continue to be extended to the patient under the Scheme until he fully recovers. This is particularly desirable in case of cancer patients belonging to BPL and other poor families. He also pleaded that benefit of such cashless treatment should be made available to a cancer patient, if he suffers revival of cancer. At present, fresh cashless treatment is not extended in case of revival of cancer.

The petitioner also submitted that at present the scheme does not provide for free diagnostic expenses to such cancer patients and the benefit of cashless treatment is available only from the date on which, after detection of cancer, the treatment of such patient is started by a recognised hospital.

Arora pleaded that once it is found that cancer patient belongs to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) family, it is the duty of the Government to bear the expenses of such diagnostic tests and investigations also, which ordinarily range between Rs.25 thousand to Rs.35 thousand on an average.

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