Free surgery in private hospitals if waiting list long: Kejriwal
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Saturday that Delhi residents will not have to wait much for life-saving surgeries in government hospitals as they can get them done for free in private ones.
After launching the health scheme, Kejriwal said if any patient doesn't get a date for surgery at a government hospital within one month, the hospital would refer him to private hospitals and the government would pay all the expenses.
"We want to ensure that people, irrespective of their economic status, get best health and education facilities and this is a step in that direction," he said.
The government has identified 48 private hospitals in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad and Noida under the scheme, where any patient, who is referred by any of the 24 government hospitals, can avail free treatment.
As many as 52 such life-saving surgeries have been specified by the government, which include bypass, kidney, prostate, thyroid, etc.
There will not be a need of income proof but the patient is supposed to give a proof that he is a resident of Delhi. Interestingly, the patient can choose any private hospital from the list he is comfortable with.
Kejriwal added that his government was the first state government to allot one-fourth of the budget to education and 14-18 per cent to health and called the health scheme a "one-of-its-kind".
Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, who was also present at the time of the launch, said his ministry will ensure that there is no dearth of money for the scheme.
Kejriwal said this was the third in a series of initiatives taken by the Delhi government to improve health related facilities, after ensuring free medicines in all government hospitals and allowing 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 the Aam Aadmi Party leader.
"But now there is no need to worry as the Delhi government would ensure that the patient gets the best treatment free of cost," he added.
To criticism that the money paid to private hospitals for treatment could be used to augment government ones, Kejriwal said the government hospitals would receive as much money as needed to boost their infrastructure.
"But it would take years to create that infrastructure while patients need immediate attention. So this step is aimed to provide immediate relief on a temporary basis," Kejriwal said.
"We want to create such a healthcare system that all patients get all medical tests within the hospitals and get dates for surgeries within a month. But till that time, such steps are necessary," he added.