This was an existing 30-bed maternity hospital that has now been converted into a diagnostic centre and has facilities for OPD services including, breast cancer detection, gynaecology, paediatrics, ENT, eye care, orthopaedics, ECG, X-Ray and ultrasound.
This polyclinic will serve as a model and will be closely monitored for its performance and efficacy and will form the basis of a total 100 such clinics planned in Delhi.
The Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Singh, who was present on the occasion, spoke of the need to strengthen the public healthcare system that has been suffering due to neglect, lack of investment and overwhelming pressure from patients seeking medical intervention from government-run hospitals as private hospitals are beyond the reach of the aam aadmi.
3-tier Healthcare System for Delhi
The Aam Aadmi Party proposes to establish a three-tier system for providing healthcare to the residents of Delhi. At the primary level, there will be the Mohalla Clinic that will be the first level of medical consultation. Here, a doctor will screen the patient and either prescribe medication or if needed, refer the patient to a polyclinic for further screening and consultation. The doctors at the polyclinic will then diagnose the patient and if needed, refer the patient to a super specialty hospital for further intervention and surgery.
At the primary level, the government proposes to establish 1000 Mohalla Clinics in Delhi, the first of which was recently inaugurated in Peeragarhi in West Delhi. This, too, is a model clinic and will form the basis of establishing more such clinics as per plan. The Mohalla Clinic in Peeragarhi has set new standards in government-run medical processes.
The clinic is receiving over 300 patients in a day. The entire registration and screening process is paperless and efficient. From the time a patient gets registered to the time he either moves out with the necessary medication/prescription, or is referred to a super specialty hospital for further intervention, the entire process is e-driven and paperless, while his medical record is saved for future reference. The entire experience for the patient is much better and faster than the existing system of endless waiting and bureaucratic delays, moving from the doctor to the lab and then to the pharmacy.
The polyclinic will serve as the link between the Mohalla Clinic and the super specialty hospital. With 1000 Mohalla Clinics planned and supported by 100 polyclinics, the Delhi government has certainly set off on the right path towards improving the health care system. With more super specialty hospitals planned along with modernizing existing ones, Delhi can look forward to an improved and efficient healthcare infrastructure in the next few years.
Reviewing what was promised and what has been achieved
In February 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party got a landslide victory winning 67 of the 70 seats assembly seats. The party manifesto promised to significantly expand and improve the healthcare system in Delhi. The manifesto promised to increase the number of hospital beds in secondary and tertiary hospitals from 10,600 to 40,000. That represents an increase of 29,400 beds or 5,880 beds per year for the next five years.
Beds cannot be added without supporting infrastructure of buildings, staff and supporting equipment, all of which requires significant investment. The Delhi government has recently released Rs 209 crore to establish the Mohalla Clinics. While that is certainly a good beginning, it is far from the required level of investment to meet the stated target of adding 5,880 beds per year. As per the party manifesto, vacant posts of 4,000 doctors and 15,000 paramedical and nursing staff were to be filled immediately. It’s been nine months now and the numbers are far from being met. The Delhi administration was unable to cope with the recent outbreak of dengue in the capital that exposed the inadequate medical infrastructure.
In February 2016, AAP will be completing its first year of this term in office and it is still far from kick starting the rapid expansion that is needed to ease the pressure on an overburdened health infrastructure. Mohalla Clinics and polyclinics are certainly a good beginning but their maintenance and expansion will hold the key to success for AAP and its plan for improving the medical infrastructure.