Virender Singh, 62, had been waiting for three months to get a cataract surgery.
Singh had consulted doctors at Hindu Rao Hospital and for four months, he had been asked to opt for a surgery to improve his vision.
The only problem — the operation theater dedicated for eye surgeries at Hindu Rao hospital was out of order and had a long waiting list of patients, making it difficult to get an early date.
It was then that Singh heard about eye surgery facilities at Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis (RBIPMT) in GTB Nagar. Singh was finally operated on at the GTB Nagar hospital on February 13, more than four months after being originally recommended for a surgery.
The health department of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation had started the surgery facilities at RBIPMT six months ago.
The hospital dedicated one of its three operation theatres for the purpose, and surgeons from Hindu Rao hospital conducted the procedures there four times a week.
The hospital has witnessed more than 1,300 eye surgeries being conducted in the six months, an overwhelming response that prompted the North Corporation to make the facility permanent and develop it as a separate unit.
The RBIPMT hospital — which is at present Asia’s biggest TB hospital — is also scheduled to get a complete makeover in the next couple of years. The hospital constructed in 1935 and sprawling over a 79-acre compound, has been ‘underutilised’ due to reducing number of TB patients.
Out of 1,155 beds, only 230 beds are occupied at a given point of time. TB is no longer a serious infectious disease in India. Also, doctors now focus more on domiciliary hospitalisation, which doesn’t require the patients to stay in hospital during the treatment.
For utilisation of the space and infrastructure, the North Corporation has decided to develop RBIMT as multi specialty hospital.
“We have already started a maternity block with an outpatient department for pregnant women, a delivery room, immunisation facility for newborn babies and 10 beds for patients. Two doctors were also shifted from peripheral dispensaries for the purpose,” said Dr Sushil Kumar Gupta, director of RBIPMT and MVID hospitals.
Next in the pipeline is developing of a 100-bedded gyaneac-and-paediatric department. The proposal has already been moved to senior officials.
“At Hindu Rao hospital, the space is a major issue. In the maternity wing, two women are supposed to share the bed. To resolve the problem, we have decided to establish a 100-bedded department,” said Dr DK Seth, director hospital administration, North Corporation.
The agency is also constructing a liquid oxygen plant with a capacity of 10,000 litres. It is now laying pipelines for supplying liquid oxygen in patient’s rooms and OTs.
“As of now, we take liquid oxygen cylinders from outside. Once we have the plant, it will become easy to deal with the demand. The facility will be made operational in a month,” said Raj Pal Rana, chairman, health committee, North Corporation.
However, the patients and attendants want improvement in existing services first. “It is a TB hospital and poor people who can’t afford treatment in private clinics come here. Dogs can be seen roaming in the hospital campus, patients’ rooms and no one is there to address the issue. The cleanliness in the patients’ blocks is bad despite the fact that TB is an infectious disease and a hygienic surrounding is important to avoid its spreading,” said an attendant on condition of anonymity.
Amalgamation of hospitals
In December, the corporation had merged the overlapping services (kitchen, laundry, ambulance, administration etc) at RBIPMT with the neighbouring Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital to save expenditure.
“The decision has added another 37 acres area to the existing campus. It would be used for developing the proposed medical and nursing college in future,” said Dr Seth.
The Rajan Babu TB Hospital is included in the civic body’s list of heritage buildings. The main building of the hospital was originally a railway station constructed to receive King George V during the British Era. Officials said that while redeveloping the hospital, the heritage character of the building will be kept intact.
1. The eye OPD will start in next three months. Doctors would be taken from peripheral dispensaries. The proposal has received approval of North Corporation.
2. A skin and dental OPD would soon follow suit.
3. Next in pipeline would be establishing of ENT department, Liquid Culture Facility for TB, setting up of laser machines for eye surgery and computed tomography (CT) scan facility in the lab in next two months.
4. In next three months, Medicine Pediatrics Department would be made operational.
5. A 150-seated auditorium has been refurbished with air conditioners. This will be used for conducting seminars and events.
6. Long-term plans include construction of multi-storied blocks and demolishing rest of the structure in a phased manner.
7. Developing IT centre for keeping health-related data of North Corporation.