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Delhi: Free surgery at private hospitals to bring down waiting period at govt hospitals

People from all income groups can avail of benefits of this scheme: the only eligibility criteria would be that the patient must be a Delhi resident undergoing treatment at a government hospital.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2017 08:30 IST
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Dy CM Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain at the launch the free surgery scheme on Saturday.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday formally launched a scheme that facilitates free surgeries at private hospitals, which will be sponsored by the Delhi government, if the waiting period at its hospitals is long.

According to the scheme, if the waiting period for 52 surgeries — heart bypass, cataract and kidney stones removal,etc—listed by the government is more than one month, patients would be eligible to get it done at 48 empanelled hospitals.

People from all income groups can avail of benefits of this scheme: the only eligibility criteria would be that the patient must be a Delhi resident undergoing treatment at a government hospital.

“We need a healthcare system where tests can be done within hospitals and surgeries could be done within a month. Till the time such infrastructure comes up, schemes like these are necessary,” Kejriwal said.

“Some people need to get the tests or surgeries immediately, but sometimes in our hospitals now these get delayed because of waiting lists. The doctors are emotionally burdened when they have to say this to the patient. This step will relieve the doctors this burden,” said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

He assured that there will be no shortage of funds from the finance department for this scheme.

The chief minister said that this was the third in the series of healthcare initiatives by the Delhi government, after providing free medicines and free medical tests at private diagnostic centres.

The government has tied up with 21 private laboratories to provide 13 expensive medical tests including CT scan and MRI to anyone coming to Delhi government hospitals, without income restrictions.

BJP slams govt

The Delhi BJP on Saturday said the free surgery scheme launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is only an attempt to divert people’s attention the corruption cases against the government.

According to Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, “During the last three budget presentations, AAP government had claimed to increase 50% of the budget for the health services and also to provide all the medicines free of cost. This is besides making all its hospitals super specialty hospitals like the AIIMS,” said Tiwari.

“The Kejriwal government has completed about half of its term. Now, this deception of providing health services through the private hospitals is complete admission of its failure to provide health services to the people,” said Tiwari.

However, the chief minister, reacting to the criticism, said that it takes time to open new hospitals and the temporary arrangements have been launched till then as part of the scheme. “We are ensuring that patients will not have to wait for long time to undergo surgery at government hospitals.”

As per the scheme, patients getting treatment at the Delhi government-run hospitals can undergo surgery in private health institutions free of cost.

Vijender Gupta, leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly, also said that the announcement has been made in a hurry and clearly shows that the government has neither negotiated nor made any agreement with the empanelled hospitals and diagnostic centers.

“The government must also clarify whether the private hospitals will provide post-surgical treatment to the patients. It should clarify if the government or private hospital will be responsible for the care of the patient after the surgery. If the patient suffers any health complication after an operation, which hospital will be responsible for it?” he said.

Gupta has also questioned the AAP government about promises made in the manifesto for establishing 900 new primary health centers, addition of 30,000 beds in the government hospitals including 4,000 beds for maternity centers and providing five beds of international standards per 1,000 people.

Meanwhile, Delhi government spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said, “We don’t want to react to any of their allegations. They (Delhi BJP) can say anything without any knowledge of the scheme or the whole concept. People have already stopped trusting them and they have been reduced to three in Vidhan Sabha.”

First Published: Jul 08, 2017 23:22 IST