The harassment of ECHS users with reference to the policy on three nonth issue of medicine vs one month, changed over recently, has caused us deep concern.
While the establishment's reasoning of 'ethical issues' and logistics etc is understood, it needs to be appreciated that in healthcare (primarily a service industry), aspects of 'client satisfaction and ease' need to be paramount. It is in this that the 'regimentation' system, essential in service life, needs to make way in the 'second innings' -veterans in need of an empathetic assistance for healthcare, even at the cost of adjusting procedures.
There are many cases of the immense pain and inconvenience to veterans. It needs to be pointed out that these refer to SENIOR officer veterans living in metros. One shudders to think how bad the situation would be for 98% veteran population living in isolated rural areas; particularly for semi literate, aging JCO/ OR veterans!!
There are many others. I got a call from Col Narainan in Chennai, close to 90 years of age, helplessly complaining of how difficult it is to go 25 Km to the ECHS Polyclinic, to get medicine. AND spending MORE on transport than the cost of medicine!! If it were 90 days issue, it would perhaps mean cost effectiveness, AND less journeys, difficult to undertake at his age. To top it up, one cant delegate collections to even the spouse. So he and his 80 year old wife, both chronically sick/ ill, trudge to the Polyclinic every month!! SAD you will agree.
This case must be forcefully taken up with ECHS HQ for onward projection and resolution. If processes need to be changed, so be it. BUT Patient interests NEED to BE PARAMOUNT. A rethink on this, and reversion to the old system is required. Who else can an ex serviceman look to for support than his erstwhile comrades in arms?
Retirement in any case, is a future reality for ALL current corp of serving soldiers.............and in attending to these issues, we can only have a win win situation.
With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturvedi (Retd)
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