‘VIP’ rooms in hospitals run by the Delhi government may soon be a thing of the past, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said Friday, as he vowed to do away with “VIP culture” in these medical institutions.
“I have seen many hospitals where entire floors have been dedicated to VIP wards. In one such floor in Mahavir Hospital, I found only two beds in each room. Patients complain about the lack of nurses, but in a government set-up, we cannot provide one nurse for every two patients,” said Jain.
Nearly all hospitals have such special wards and some like Lok Nayak Hospital have nursing homes, said the minister. Recently, another nursing home with over 200 single rooms was inaugurated in Delhi government’s G B Pant Hospital.
Converting these rooms into general wards would remove the existing “class system”, said the minister. “If you want five-star services, go to a private hospital. If you want four-star facilities, go to a private hospital. But if you want three-star facilities, we will provide that to you in our hospitals,” said Jain.
Irrespective of whether a patient is a “mantri or santri” (a minister or a guard), he or she will be treated equally under government healthcare, he said.
Citing the example of one hospital, Jain said, “If 20 rooms with two beds each are removed, we remove 40 beds but also add 80-100 beds in the same place.”
Jain said “every inch of space” in existing hospitals would be used to add more beds. “By December 31, 2017, we want to double the current strength of 10,000 beds in government hospitals,” he said.
The AAP, in its election manifesto, had promised to double hospital infrastructure during its five-year tenure.
“In five hospitals, we are adding new air-conditioned blocks. Some government hospitals are designed in such a way that patients seem to be the last priority. There is space for store rooms, laboratories and offices, but there is a shortage of beds,” Jain said.
New blocks will be added to several hospitals, including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Rao Tula Ram and Sanjay Gandhi, said Jain. He added that some other hospitals are also being renovated to improve their bed strength, said the minister.
When queried if the government was planning to set up new hospitals, Jain said the government had written to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) months ago, seeking land to set up hospitals in 10 areas. “We also met the LG and DDA officials. We said we are ready to pay for the land, but no land has been provided to us,” said Jain.