Delhiites in need of urgent surgeries at government hospitals need not worry about dates anymore as they can get them done sooner and for free at 48 listed private hospitals in Delhi-NCR. The bills will be sent to the Delhi government, which yesterday announced that residents of the city, irrespective of their economic status, can get at least 52 types of life-saving surgeries, including heart bypass, kidney stones removal, prostrate surgery, thyroid, cataract etc, done at these hospitals. There will be no cap on the amount of bills.
Said by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that "if a patient do not get a date for surgery at any government hospital within one month, then the hospital would refer him to private hospitals and the government would pay all the expenses".
"We want to ensure that people get best health facilities and this is a step in that direction," he said during the announcement.
Patients will not be asked for income proof, but they will have to provide a proof that they are residents of Delhi.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the government will ensure there is enough money for the scheme. This is the third such health initiative taken by the government after free medicines at all government hospitals and free medical tests at private diagnostic centres.
"Health services are so expensive today that if anyone suffers from a serious ailment, the biggest worry for the family is not the health of the patient, but where would the money come from," said Mr Sisodia.
The opposition, however, panned the 'free surgery scheme' saying the government is trying to divert attention from corruption charges it is facing. The money paid to private hospitals for treatment could instead be used to augment existing government facilities, they said.
Said by the Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had announced to increase its health budget by 50 per cent and promised to convert all its hospitals into super speciality facilities, "but now it is admitting its failures by providing health services through private hospitals".
Calling it a hasty announcement, he added that the scheme will "open a new avenue of corruption".
BJP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta explained, "Private hospitals have commercial rates for surgical treatments and it is not feasible for any government to bear the cost. Mr Kejriwal should tell everyone how it will get the people treated at private hospitals."
Unfazed by criticism, Mr Kejriwal said that some patients need immediate medical care and for that reason these temporary arrangements have been made.
The Aam Aadmi Party-led government also announced the 'accident victim scheme' for those affected by road accidents, fire and acid attacks. They will be provided free medical treatment at private hospitals across the city.