Among the best in country, but Delhi's healthcare is still in ICU | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Among the best in country, but Delhi's healthcare is still in ICU

Delhi has the highest density of hospitals in the country and more beds available for patients than the national average but it is impossible to get treatment in government-run hospitals when needed.

delhi Updated: Jul 06, 2015 10:13 IST
Rhythma Kaul
File-photo-of-AIIMS-Hospital-in-New-Delhi-Photo-By-Sonu-Mehta-Hindustan-Times
File-photo-of-AIIMS-Hospital-in-New-Delhi-Photo-By-Sonu-Mehta-Hindustan-Times

Delhi has the highest density of hospitals in the country and more beds available for patients than the national average but it is impossible to get treatment in government-run hospitals when needed.

The city’s rising population and the many thousands who come from other states seeking treatment have virtually put government hospitals, which offer cheaper care, out of reach for most people.

Delhi has 976 registered hospitals and clinics — 338 private, 38 government, including five medical colleges — and countless unregistered ones. But, they are not enough.

Apart from overcrowding and bed shortage, hospitals struggle with staff shortfalls, absenteeism, little accountability, infrastructure challenges, touts, and erratic supply of essential medicines and diagnostic tests.

Then there is the issue of families who accompany the ailing and make hospitals and their surroundings their home.

Delhi has 48,096 beds in gover nment facilities, 40% of which at any given time in larger hospitals such as AIIMS, Safdarjung, Lok Nayak and GTB are occupied by poor patients from other states.

With no place to live, they are forced to make pavements, flyovers and hospital compounds their temporary homes, where they battle disease, poverty and Delhi’s extreme weather.

By allocating Rs 4,787 crore to health in its maiden budget, a healthy jump of about 45% over last year’s Rs 2,724 crore, the Kejriwal government has placed health high on its agenda.

A part of the money will go towards building three new hospitals that will add 1,800 beds over the next two years. Funds will also go towards upgrade and expansion of 11 hospitals, which will get 4,000 more beds.

Delhi has 2.7 hospital beds per 1,000 population compared to the national average of one bed per 2,000 people. The World Health Organisation recommends five hospital beds per 1,000 people.

“Unless staff shortfalls are met and hospitals better managed, building new ones and adding beds will not solve the problem,” said a resident doctor at GTB. The doctor had joined colleagues across the city when they struck work in the last week of June, demanding better salaries and improved facilities.