“We at PGIMER are fully conscious of our responsibility towards non-Covid patients and are keen to open the physical OPDs. But in view of the huge footfall numbering over 10,000 on a routine day before Covid at our OPDs from across the region, it’s a decision worth waiting for, till it is amply clear that the worst is over and the plateau has actually been flattened. Any hasty decision may backfire, amounting to risking precious lives,” stated Professor Jagat Ram, Director, PGIMER, while sharing his views on the resumption of physical OPDs at the hospital.
Dr Ram added that considering the upcoming festive season and with almost everything being unlocked, despite the medical fraternity wishing otherwise, surge in numbers cannot be ruled out. “So, we are keeping a close watch on the situation and preparing for resumption of physical OPDs through staggered steps,” he said.
Talking about medical facilities given to non-Covid patients during the pandemic, the director said that in these challenging times saving Covid positive patients has been the key focus. However, it is a misconception that the health needs of non-Covid patients have not been addressed due to the closure of the physical OPDs. According to Dr Ram, an average of 1,800 to 2,500 patients reached out through tele-consultation on a daily basis. PGIMER has provided OPD consultation to almost four lakh patients since May 19. In addition, 27,722 surgeries were performed and 30,389 patients availed treatment on admission in various departments.
Also, the physical OPD services in gynae, radiotherapy and ophthalmology departments were functional throughout the pandemic ensuring safety norms of patients and health care workers.
These initiatives are in addition to the services being provided by the Emergency and Trauma Centre which have been functioning beyond their bed strength. “PGIMER has been proactively responding to the situation by boosting its tele-consultation services from time to time. On October 16 we not only increased the number of dedicated lines, but also increased the time of registration from 8 am to 10:30 am, facilitating the patients. Likewise, to avoid congregation of patients in the OPDs, the institute is ramping up the infrastructure required to ensure social distancing by creating separate screening and holding areas, which are almost ready now. Simultaneously, consultations are on with various stakeholders to work out the modalities to re-open the physical OPDs through staggered steps to ensure the safety of patients visiting the hospital,” asserted the Director.
Seeking cooperation from the community, the Director said that till the OPDs are not functional, he would urge people to avail of the specialised tele-consultation service, a win-win situation for both patients as well as the institute.
Meanwhile, at GMSH-16, the OPDs will begin functioning from October 19, with skin, surgery and ortho starting first and arrangements being made to ensure social distancing. At GMCH-32, patients are being attended to through telemedicine and E-Sanjivani, with plans in place to begin regular OPDs in the coming weeks.
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