Two superspecialty hospitals of the Delhi government, at Tahirpur and Janakpuri, will get 400 new beds by Sunday as part of the health department’s efforts to ensure that no dengue patient is turned away due to lack of beds amid the worst outbreak of the disease in years. As the government’s existing hospitals run out of space, these two hospitals — meant for specialised fields like gastroenterology, nephrology and cardiology — have been roped in to manage the new beds for dengue patients.
Incidentally, indoor facilities are yet to start in the two superspecialty hospitals and a majority of their existing 950 beds remain unoccupied, seven years after they were constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 200 crore.
Till date, out-patient department (OPD) services and day-care dialysis procedures are the only facilities available at the hospitals, built in an area of around 22 acres.
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“They are bringing in new beds when we are unable to utilise three times the existing number of beds.
Superspecialists will be treating dengue patients, because they could not make those departments — which we were meant to work in — functional,” said a senior nephrologist at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital in Tahirpur.
Over the years, a series of proposals were put forward to make the two superspecialty hospitals functional including two Request for Proposals (RFPs) for PPP projects, companies were shortlisted and then rejected, and discussions were held with the central government.
Before the 2014 elections, the then administration formed two autonomous bodies to take charge of the hospitals, in a bid to expedite the hiring of doctors and staff and the purchase of equipments. But several months later, indoor facilities are yet to start in these hospitals.
Another 200 beds, of the 1,000 new beds purchased by the health department to deal with the outbreak, will be deputed to the Ashok Vihar hospital, according to government officials.
However, many experts welcomed the decision to make the superspecialty hospitals functional.
“Public money has been spent to construct them…For so many years, they have been lying virtually unused. They should have started using them for dengue patients sooner, maybe even the existing beds,” said Dr K K Aggarwal of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Other government hospitals like Lok Nayak Hospital have also started creating space for additional beds, which are expected to arrive by Sunday.
Meanwhile, the central government’s Safdarjung hospital, which has faced flak over shortage of beds and its inability to accommodate the influx of patients, has started using its high-dependency units for those suffering from dengue.
The units, equipped with monitors and other equipments, is usually meant for patients who have just been discharged from the ICU and need regular monitoring.
“Ideally, they are meant for post-surgical, critical patients in departments like cardiology and neurology, but now even this set-up is being used to make space for dengue and fever patients,” said sources.