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BMC mulls patient referral policy at its four major hospitals

By Rupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON DEC 27, 2019 12:00 AM IST

In order to reduce the crowds of patients at its four major hospitals, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to admit patients only on the basis of references from smaller civic-run hospitals. The civic body is considering to start the patient referral system, pioneered by All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), at King Edward Memorial, BYL Nair Hospital, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital and Dr R N Cooper Municipal General Hospital. AIIMS had introduced the system a decade ago to avoid the flow of patients who don’t require treatment on an emergency basis.

“A majority of patients who visit these major hospitals can easily be treated at peripheral (minor) hospitals. These four hospitals are super-speciality tertiary health care facilities. So, technically only patients with chronic illnesses should be referred for treatment,” said Amay Ghule, chairman of BMC’s public health committee.

The BMC is planning to start the scheme as a pilot project at a few specific departments in the hospitals to find out whether it works. It is not yet clear whether the hospitals will admit patients referred by private hospitals.

“The crowd of patients in Mumbai is higher than Delhi so we can’t just implement it without a pilot project. So, we will select the departments where the footfalls of patients are less and don’t get severe emergency cases,” added Ghule.

At present, almost 60% of the patients who visit these hospitals don’t suffer from chronic ailments. Every day, the four major hospitals get over 25,000 patients in the out patient department (OPD). They also get almost 7,000 emergency patients. The 16 peripheral (minor) hospitals across the city get around 20,000 patients in the OPD along with 3,000 emergency patients. In addition, BMC runs maternity and speciality hospitals.

Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM hospital said, “Usually, doctors end up juggling between patients because there are too many patients. There is a need to divert patients to peripheral hospitals who don’t need super-speciality treatment. If we can decrease the number, our doctors can focus more on providing treatment to patients from suffering from critical illnesses.”

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