OPD footfall dipped by 57%, surgeries by 43% at one of Delhi’s biggest hospitals

The most significant decline in the number of patients visiting and getting admitted to the hospital was during the Covid-19 lockdown imposed in March 2020.
The surgical work was reduced significantly across all the specialties, with bariatric surgery (87.5%) and ophthalmology (65.45%) being affected the most. (Representative Photo)
The surgical work was reduced significantly across all the specialties, with bariatric surgery (87.5%) and ophthalmology (65.45%) being affected the most. (Representative Photo)
Published on Jul 10, 2021 12:16 PM IST
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The number of patients at the out-patient department (OPD) of one of the biggest private hospitals in Delhi dropped almost two-thirds (57.6%) last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of the records of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals published in the Indian Journal of Medical Sciences. The number of surgeries dropped by 43.78%, highlighting the impact the pandemic has had on the treatment of non-Covid-19 patients.

The admissions of patients also reduced, but not significantly. Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital offset the decrease in the admissions of others. The respiratory medicine department was the only specialty that reported a significant increase--314%--in admissions between April 2020 and March 2021 as compared to the previous year. It was because mostly Covid-19 patients were being treated there.

“It was observed that all the medical and surgical specialties dealing more with critical and emergency care were less affected than the others. The most urgent surgical and interventional work was undertaken with due precautions. The surgical work was reduced significantly across all the specialties, with bariatric surgery (87.5%) and ophthalmology (65.45%) being affected the most, and general surgery (32.28%) and neurosurgery the least,” said Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals.

The most significant decline in the number of patients visiting and getting admitted to the hospital was during the Covid-19 lockdown imposed in March 2020. The number of patients at outpatient clinics dropped by 89% from April to May 2020. The number of surgeries reduced by 80.7% during the period.

“COVID-19 emergency had a direct and profound impact on the health-care delivery of non-COVID medical and surgical conditions. One of the worst affected groups was non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as these chronic diseases require continuous care,” the study said.

The study cited the government’s move to reserve beds for Covid-19 treatment and fear among people about visiting hospitals. It added this led to a decline in the number of patients at the hospital. “The hospital was asked to reserve 20–80% of the beds and ICUs at different times, as per Delhi government orders which decreased capacity for non-COVID work. In addition, many cases had reservations about coming for treatment for the fear of acquiring the infection in a healthcare setting,” the study said.

Even as the number of infections has dropped in the city, 70 to 80% of the beds in major hospitals continue to be reserved for Covid-19 treatment.

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Thursday, December 02, 2021