The Indian Medical Association has appealed to its 2.75 lakh doctor-members across India to give a 25 per cent discount in doctor’s fees for one week to all patients who visit them with their fingers bearing the voting ink mark.

The Bengal chapter of the IMA has gone one step ahead by appealing to doctors, based in the state, to give the 25 per cent discount in pathological tests too and that too for two weeks.

The IMA with a 86-year-old history behind it took the unusual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of voting.

“We want to raise awareness about the importance of voting. So we have made this appeal to all our 1,700 local branches spread across 29 states to give the rebate to patients,” IMA secretary general Narendra Saini told PTI.

Saini said the association was also in the process of sending text messages to all its member-doctors informing them of the rebate.

“Some branches in northern India have said that they will offer 50 per cent rebate on doctor’s fees. We are getting a good response from the doctors and our associations,” he said.

State secretary and national joint secretary Shantanu Sen told PTI that they had decided to increse the time-frame to two weeks and also appealed to all pathological clincs to offer 25 per cent discount on all tests.

In Bengal IMA has 17,000 doctors as its members.

“If the parents vote, their children will also get a discount on fees when visiting child specialists or pathological labs,” Sen said.

Asked how the IMA will know that the doctors are actually giving discounts, Saini said, “We can only appeal to the conscience of the doctors to be a part in the cause.”

Even if 25 to 40 per cent of IMA members responded to the appeal, it would be deemed as having set an example, Sen said.

Saini says that more than one crore patients are treated everyday by 2.5 lakh member-doctors of the association spread across India.

(This article was published on April 11, 2014)
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