New Delhi: Patients suffer as govt hospitals go for long weekend
Around 50,000 outpatients are treated across 46 public hospitals in Delhi. Some outpatients travel from other states to be treated at these hospitals.delhi Updated: Mar 30, 2018 23:56 IST
Thousands of outpatients have been affected, with all dispensaries, poly-clinics and out-patient departments in government hospitals remaining shut for two consecutive days (Thursday and Friday) for public holidays.
The clinics will open for just half the day on Saturday (till 1 pm) and be closed on Sunday.
Around 50,000 outpatients are treated across 46 public hospitals in Delhi. Some outpatients travel from other states to be treated at these hospitals.
On Friday, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), barricades blocked the entrance gates of the out-patient clinic, with three guards on duty asking patients to go away and come back on Monday.
“We have had to turn away at least 300 patients since morning and most of them had travelled from outside Delhi from treatment. The number could be higher, we haven’t kept a count. Patients do not keep track of government holidays, so we have to tell them that there are no doctors on duty,” said a guard on condition of anonymity.
Delhi has 33 hospitals run by the state government, seven by municipal corporations, four by the central government and two by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). Together, they treat around 50,000 people in their Out Patient Departments every day.
Nitin, 32, who goes by only one name, arrived from his hometown Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday night and slept on the footpath outside AIIMS to be first at the OPD on Thursday morning. “I have been undergoing treatment at AIIMS for five years, ” he said.
“When I reached here, I was told there is a two day holiday. Even on Saturday, I am not sure that we will be able to see the doctor because the queues will be massive and because it’s a half day. So I am stuck in Delhi at least till Monday,” said Nitin.
Most mohalla (neighbourhood) clinics and all government-run dispensaries and polyclinics were also closed on Thursday and Friday. OPDs will be open for half-day on Saturday, but people coming to weekly special clinics will have to come back following week.
Aman Kumar, 27, who runs a shop in Saket, got his wife to Safdarjung to get her dressing changed on Friday. “She had an abdominal surgery last month and the stitches got infected. The doctor asked us to come to the OPD to get a fresh dressing today, but it is a holiday so I will have to close my shop again tomorrow to be back,” he said.
With OPDs shut, many patients have started thronging the emergency departments. “The emergency attendance has nearly doubled today,” said a data entry operator at the AIIMS emergency department.
“I came to the emergency department because I was told that there are no doctors in the OPD; it was the same yesterday, and we cannot keep waiting,” said Diwakar Kumar, whose diabetic father’s kidneys and eyes have been affected due to the high blood sugar levels. The duo is from Begusarai, Bihar.
Other hospitals have also registered increased footfalls in the emergency. “The footfall has definitely gone up in the emergency by 20%-30%, but this happens whenever OPD services are closed. We treat, and give medicines even to those patients who don’t need emergency treatment and ask them to come back to the OPD later,” said a doctor on duty at Lok Nayak hospital’s emergency unit.