All Delhiites can get free surgeries at private hospitals

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Delhiites who could not get surgery done at any govt hospital can now get free surgery in 48 pvt hospitals without worrying about bills.

2. A patient needing surgery can be referred to a private hospital andthe Delhi govt will bear the cost of the surgery.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. (TOI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Residents of Delhi who are unable to have surgeries at any government hospital in the city can now get free surgery in 48 private hospitals without having to worry about huge bills. The bills, for which no upper limit has been set, will be paid by the Delhi government. "We lay emphasis on health and education, there will be no dearth of funds for this scheme," CM Arvind Kejriwal said.

A patient needing surgery which cannot be performed at a government hospital within 30 days or if the hospital doesn't have infrastructure can be referred to a private hospital. The free surgery can be conducted within a fortnight.

The patient needs to submit residence proof with the OPD slip (containing referral to private hospital) with an authorisation form (available at the hospital) to the nodal officer of the Delhi Arogya Kosh from where she will get the authorisation letter allowing treatment at private hospital.The hospital administration will assist the patients' family in the process.

The overburdened government hospitals in Delhi cannot conduct surgeries within a fortnight even when patients are in a critical condition -some patients get a surgery date one year from the date of recommendation. The free surgery scheme was mooted against this backdrop.

"A patient can choose any of the hospitals among the 48 empanelled ones for the surgery ," health minister Satyendar Jain said.Among the private hospitals are Max Hospital, ILBS Hospital, Batra Hospital, Medanta Medicity , Jeevan Nursing Home, Delhi Heart and Lung Institute, Maharaja Agrasen Hospital located in Delhi NCR. The free facility is, however, available only for 52 types of specified surgeries, like heart bypass, laparoscopic gall bladder surgery etc.

Kejriwal hailed the scheme -the third big scheme in the health sector within one year after free medicines in government hospitals to free medical tests in private hospitals -as historic. "A revolutionary change is taking place in Delhi's health sector. Good health services and educa tion are no longer the privilege of the rich in Delhi," Kejriwal said.

For a government which spent 14 per cent of its budget on health last year, the aim is higher. "Within a month we will launch a scheme to provide free treatment at private hospitals to victims of road accidents, acid attacks and people who suffer burn injuries," said Jain. Unlike free surgery to residents of Delhi, the accident scheme will be open to all. The only condition will be that the accident should have taken place in Delhi.

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said the Delhi government is focused on health and education because they are the foundation of a country . He, however, asked the doctors to be cautious about the misuse of the free surgery scheme.

Critics of the scheme say that rather than referring patients to private hospitals, the government should focus on hospitals' capacity building. "Infrastructure development needs years, but a patient needs immediate treatment," the CM said after launching the scheme."With infrastructure development, we want to hold all surgeries in government hospitals in future," he said.

BJP said the free surgery scheme is "an attempt to divert the attention of the media from the allegations of corruption levelled against Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues recently by former AAP minister Kapil Mishra".

"It is an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the cases of corruption. It seems that this scheme to provide health services through the private hospitals will be a new opportunity for corruption," Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said, adding the scheme has been announced in haste, without making proper preparations.
Source - TOI

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