Now, Delhi residents can get surgery performed for free in 48 private hospitals

NEW DELHI: Patients residing in Delhi can get free surgery performed in 48 private hospitals of Delhi without worrying about the cost involved in it courtesy Delhi government’s brand new scheme. The bills, without an upper limit, will be paid by Delhi government.

“We lay emphasis on health and education, there will be no dearth of funds for this scheme,” said CM Arvind Kejriwal while launching the scheme at Talkatora stadium on Saturday.

A patient undergoing treatment at any of the 24 Delhi government hospitals where he/she is advised to undergo a surgery which cannot be performed within 30 days owing to overload of surgeries or hospital not having adequate infrastructure to perform the surgery, can be referred to a private hospital. Such a patient is eligible for referral to private hospital. After completing the paperwork, the patient can get the free surgery in private hospital of his choice within a fortnight.

The patient needs to submit his residence proof with the OPD slip (containing referral to private hospital by doctor) with duly filled authorization form (available in hospital) to nodal officer of Delhi Arogya Kosh (each government will have nodal officer) from where he will get authorization letter which will grant him permission for treatment in private hospital. The hospital administration will assist the patients’ family members in the process.

“A patient can choose any of 48 empanelled hospitals to get the surgery performed,” said health minister Satyender Jain. 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 region. The free facility is however available only for 52 types of specified surgeries like heart by-pass, laparoscopic gall bladder surgery etc.

Kejriwal hailed the scheme – third big scheme in health sector within one year after all free medicines in government hospitals to free medical tests in private hospitals – as historic. “Revolutionary change is taking place in Delhi’s health sector. Good health services and education are no longer the privilege of the rich in Delhi,” Kejriwal said.

For a government, that 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 take place in Delhi.

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said 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.

The critics of the scheme say that the 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,” Kejriwal said after launching the scheme. “With infrastructure development, we want to hold all surgeries in government hospital in future,” he said.

Meanwhile for BJP 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 new opportunity for corruption,” Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said.

Tiwari said that the scheme has been announced in haste, without making proper preparations.
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