Almost eight months after inaugurating the first mohalla clinic in northwest Delhi in an air-conditioned porta cabin, the Delhi government has announced a pilot project for the next 100 mohalla clinics in a new format — in rented accommodations and manned by private or retired doctors.
Officials said the clinics will be housed in rented or “rent-free” accommodations of “two-three rooms”, while doctors will be selected through walk-in interviews. Retired government doctors and private practitioners have been specifically invited for the interviews. Those selected will be empaneled by the government as “Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMC) Chamber doctors” and will be responsible for maintaining the clinics.
Senior government officials said the clinics will function as “self-contained institutions” for a minimum of four hours between 9 am and 1 pm, Monday to Friday.
“The selected private and retired doctors will be remunerated Rs 30 by the government for every patient they see. If the doctor chooses to engage a helper at his or her own expense, the consultation charge for every patient will be Rs 40,” said an official. The minimum qualification to be eligible for the interview is an MBBS degree.
Health minister Satyendar Jain had earlier said the government plans to start 1,000 mohalla clinics this year. Senior health officials said after this pilot is completed, setting up of the rest of the clinics in porta cabins has not been ruled out.
“This is just a pilot project of 100 clinics for now. We have seen the functioning of the porta cabin-like structure where a government doctor engaged under the National Rural Health Mission has been posted. Now, we are trying out a new model for the next 100 mohalla clinics. After evaluating both, we will decide how the next phase of the clinics will be rolled out,” said an official.
Under the project, medical equipment and the pharmacy will be arranged for by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and district health officials respectively. “The completed chamber will be made available to doctors who are empaneled to manage them in four-hour shifts as an OPD clinic. The responsibility of keeping the clinic clean and patient-friendly is the responsibility of the doctor,” states the proposal.
“Basic investigations” in the clinic will be paid for by the government. A biometric list of patients treated and medicines will have to be maintained by the doctors. “The patients shall be examined on the basis of an internet-connected electronic tab based protocol and medicines prescribed and dispensed by the doctor,” adds the proposal.
As per the proposal, the clinics will be rented by the government, and electricity, water and sewer connections shall also be arranged by the government. The “basic interiors, installation of electrical fittings and furnishing will be done as per the owner’s requirement while handing over the property to the government”.
Senior health officials said while most of the facilities will have to be paid for, some may be provided “rent-free” by private individuals. The Chief District Medical Officer of every district will provide posters and other public health education material on state programmes for these clinics. “We will give a short training to the doctors on maintaining patient data,” said an official.
The government said the pilot will be tried for six months, “in order to develop the understanding for work flow and methods in management of the mohalla clinics”.