… with a revision of fees

Lhakpa Quendren

The national referral hospital (JDWNRH) has resumed its special consultation services (SCS) along with additional services and revised fee structure from October 2.

The special consultation services, which were temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been reintroduced to reduce congestion during normal operating hours and provide quality healthcare services.

JDWNRH’s Medical Superintended Dr Sonam Tshering said that the SCS is provided exclusively for the convenience of the patients. “It is their personal choice. If patients wish to avail of the special services, the hospital is ready to help them.”

He said that patients will have the option to choose which specialist they would like to consult.

Patients can expect to get more time with doctors as the services are offered during off-hours. “If a doctor sees more patients, they can earn more by the end of the month,” the MS of the national referral hospital said.

“There might be patients who do not want to wait for long during normal hours, and some office workers may not have the time to visit the hospital during their office hours,” he said.

This decision comes after careful consideration of the current situation with improved safety measures. It is in line with the continuous efforts to provide quality healthcare services to the patients and the broader community, the MS said.

However, many people believe that paid services provide better quality than free services, and they are concerned that SCS might affect the quality of free healthcare services.

Dr Sonam Tshering said that special consultation will not compromise the regular services. “If we ever compromise the quality of healthcare services, which is being offered by the government, we must be ready to discontinue them at any time.”

All medical services provided during the hospital’s regular hours will now be available during the special consultation period, which is from 4pm to 7pm on weekdays and from 2pm to 5pm on Saturdays. Appointments are required for these services.

The service charges for various patient and non-patient consultation services range from Nu 100 to Nu 5,000, which cover about 150 different services.

Dr Sonam Tshering said that a certain percentage of the fees will be given to the doctor and their associated staff, while a certain percentage will contribute to the hospital’s revenue.

The SCS, expected to be reviewed by the end of October, also provides opportunities for nurses to earn beyond their regular working hours. Nurses can earn Nu 800 per session, regardless of the number of patient turnover, and they can earn 20 percent of the fee for assisting procedures.

However, there are also concerns among the healthcare workers that SCS would demotivate healthcare professionals in other hospitals, and it might attract them to the national referral hospital.