The hugely famous Re 1 clinics are all set to make their way to Mumbai Metro stations. After treating close to 12,000 patients in just 45 days at a concessional rate of Re 1 per consultation at Mumbai's Central line, Dr Rahul Ghule, the man behind the people-friendly clinics is all set for expansion. Speaking to OneIndia, Dr Ghule said that a personal tragedy was the trigger for Re 1 clinics initiative.
"On the Central line, we are operational at five locations already and in the last 45 days, we have treated close to 12,000 patients. The numbers are only swelling. In the next three months, we will be operational in fifty places in Mumbai. Twenty clinics on Central Line, 20 on western line and 10 in Metro stations is the plan," Dr Ghule said.
The Re 1 clinics are a boon for patients and Emergency Medical Rooms being set up at key stations including Mumbai Metro Stations are expected to help accident victims within the golden hour. While they are operational inside stations, they are open to the public, especially those that hail from poor economic backgrounds.
"The idea behind the Re 1 clinics is to help people get access to healthcare at affordable prices. We charge a consultation fee of Re 1. We also provide medicines at heavily discounted prices. Discount of 40 percent is offered on pathology tests, 20 percent on medicines and almost 50 percent on MRI and CT scans. The clinics are a one-stop solution for healthcare services at very affordable rates. Healthcare is very expensive these days. Even government hospitals are not cheap anymore and poor people cannot afford it. We launched these small clinics so people can save their time and money," Dr Ghule added.
While the consultation fee is Re 1, the clinics charge subsidised prices for tests and scans for patients. While those on the Central and Western lines will work round the clock, those coming up on Metro stations will function according to Metro timings.
Is it a sustainable model?
Dr Ghule said that an accident in 2015 got him thinking about healthcare for the poor. In 2015, Dr Rahul Ghule's mother suffered severe head injury as a result of a bike accident. After undergoing two brain surgeries, she survived but the accident paralysed her.
"My wife and I, both are doctors but we could do nothing. We are economically stable to provide my mother treatment in the ICU for the next one year but what about whose who have limited resources? What about the patients who do not have the right access to the right source. That is when it occurred to be that there should be a model for the society in the health sector," he said.
The clinics are equipped to handle any emergency. Heath attack or accident patients can be treated in the clinics. 4 or 5 doctors with nurses and attendants will man the clinic round the clock. Dr Ghule says that the number of patients who visit the clinics has increased and that has made it a viable, sustainable model. Patients from other hospitals visit the Re 1 clinics for tests since the costs are cheaper.
While the clinics do not take any donations or avail subsidies from the government, an agreement made with the central government for the next 5 years ensures that the clinics do not have to pay rent, electricity or water bills. Equipment, staff and medicines are the only costs.
"It is a satisfying experience for the doctors are well. After all, this is why we are in this profession. We intend to take these clinics to every district in Maharashtra and every state in the Country," Dr Rahul Ghule said. The clinics at the Metro stations are expected to be inaugurated in August.