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Times of India
12 July 2010
New Delhi, India

Patients hoping to get surgeries done at Delhi’s two premier government–run speciality hospitals may have to wait for a period ranging between six months and three years.

While the general surgery department at AIIMS has a minimum waiting period of three to five months, in gastro–intestinal surgery the wait is from six months to one year. The longest waiting period is in the neurosurgery department –18 months to three years. All major departments –general surgery, gastro–intestinal, paediatrics, orthopaedics, nephrology, cardiac and neuro –have long waiting lists for surgery, reveals an RTI reply.

According to data provided by the hospital, AIIMS performs about 329 surgeries every day, adding up to about 1,20,000 a year. In cardiac surgery the waiting period is six months to one year, in orthopaedics about one year.

In reply to the RTI application, Dr Shyam Lal of the Cardio–Neuro Sciences Centre at AIIMS accepted that “in unit one of the neurosurgery department, priority cases can get admission on November 2011, while the gestation period for routine cases is till August 2013.”

He added that “In unit two the waiting period for admission of priority cases is till October 2011 and the routine cases have to wait till January 2012.”

The cardio–thoracic department has seven surgeons as against the need of 12. A doctor said, “We conduct nearly 3500 surgeries a year. Shortage of doctors and hospitals to cater to the patient load in the city besides inadequate infrastructure contribute to this patient load.”

It’s the same story at Safdarjung Hospital. The waiting period in its surgical departments ranges from three to six months. According to data provided by the hospital, 84,920 surgeries were performed during 2009 which averages 232 major and minor surgeries per day.

One of the chief medical officers of the hospital, Dr Sitalakshmi, blamed mismatch between patient load and available infrastructure. She said, “There is a need for more hospitals in neighbouring states to ease the patient rush here.”

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