New Delhi: AIIMS Delhi has been paired with state government-run Indira Gandhi Hospital in Dwarka and NDMC’s Charak Palika Hospital for the distribution of patient load at the premier institute. Starting next month, it will be done on a pilot basis.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by lieutenant governor VK Saxena on Friday to evolve a formal system for the referral of patients between AIIMS and other government hospitals in Delhi. According to a statement by the LG office, the objective is to optimally utilize the vacant beds in other government hospitals where critical-but-stable patients from AIIMS, reeling under acute shortage of beds, could be referred for treatment. “The path-breaking initiative would go a long way in managing the burgeoning patient load at AIIMS, while also significantly enhancing the healthcare system and medical expertise at other government hospitals,” it added.
Last year, after AIIMS director Dr M Srinivas took charge, the issue was discussed in a meeting with the other government hospitals in the city, said an official. “We are trying to create a standardised protocol for the healthcare system in Delhi and hospitals can adopt it. This step also aims to restore the faith in other government hospitals,” the official noted. “There will be challenges too. The staff have to be receptive and accept the SOPs. It will be a government order,” said another official.
By referring stable patients to other hospitals, the system will leave ample room for the chronic and critically ill patients to get specialised treatment at AIIMS. Thanks to an established structure, patients will also not have to go from one hospital to another in search of beds, said an official, adding that the delay often results in fatalities during the transit period. Last month, a 75-year-old woman died outside the AIIMS emergency while shuffling between it and Safdarjung Hospital.
“Gradually, other government hospitals and healthcare centres will be roped in and developed as “partner institutions” of AIIMS to cater to the local population in different localities of Delhi,” said the LG office. The aim is to develop superspecialty hospitals across the capital so that the burden on AIIMS reduces and people can access AIIMS-like healthcare near home, it added. On average, the emergency department of AIIMS receives 866 patients daily, besides critical patients from other government hospitals due to the lack of superspecialty facilities. AIIMS can admit only 50 of these 866 patients.
As the first step, the LG has directed the health department to carry out a gap analysis of available beds in its major hospitals in a week. At the same time, the department will develop a centralised dashboard where the real-time availability of all beds will be available. Stable patients referred out of AIIMS often face inconvenience due to the absence of a formal referral system, the statement noted.
Indira Gandhi Hospital was approved during Sheila Dixit’s tenure as the chief minister. In 1997, a 15-acre plot was allotted and the initial deadline was 2017. It was later revised to September 2019, but the hospital began operating only partially last year. Several posts of doctors, nurses and other medical staff are still vacant.