Millennium Post

Queues back at AIIMS OPDs, many lining up from as early as 4 am for appointments

Queues back at AIIMS OPDs, many lining up from as early as 4 am for appointments

New Delhi: As the Capital starts opening up more surely this time than the times before, long, snaking queues outside OPD departments of prominent government hospitals here such as AIIMS and Safdarjung hospitals, have once again reappeared, with some patients lining up from as early as 4 am to some waiting on pavements from the night before.

Even as reports of patients on the sidewalk outside Safdarjung hospital on Wednesday night emerged, Millennium Post found OPD sections at the AIIMS here to be fully crowded during the day, with patients not following Covid norms, and both security staff and patients saying the crowds are usually thicker and lines longer.

"Usually there is no space to even breathe. The lines just never end," one staffer at the hospital said, adding that patients waiting for neurology OPD appointments often start queuing up from as early as 4 am.

Attendants at the hospital said that if neurology OPD appointments take too long to wrap up, then cardiology appointments are affected, which happens on most days. Currently, daily OPD appointments at AIIMS have been capped due to the pandemic and while those with prior appointments have to wait for a couple of hours, those without wait to try their luck.

On Wednesday, the neurology and cardiology OPDs were much more crowded and less systematic than the general one.

However, the patients waiting in line on Wednesday told Millennium Post that they have no choice but to submit to the system in place and that they would much rather do that to see "quality doctors" than pay a bomb at private hospitals.

Bahji Sankalp (51), from Uttar Pradesh said his condition required him to visit the cardiology OPD every two to three weeks. "Crowds are constant, today is actually not that bad. I have only waited for 1 hour today, I'll soon be able to see the doctor," he said, before adding that the doctors are good here.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Dilip Kumar, from Bihar, said he had been asked to visit the cardiology OPD once a week. "My health is improving but we need to check whether to continue my medication or not," he said. When asked about the waiting time, he said, "The system is okay, it's long and trying but it's better than having no one to go to."

35-year-old Sompratap, from Delhi, was also among those lining up at the General OPD section. He was waiting for his father. He said, "I have been waiting for two hours now, my father is old and sick. This is the best option though." Sompratap added that private facilities were too expensive and they did not care about the patients' wellbeing.

While the wait was long, he admitted, Sompratap also said that he had come prepared to wait.

Many more like Sompratap were also found waiting outside the OPD sections without a designated waiting area. They had brought blankets to sit on and other essentials for the wait.

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