The Union Health Ministry has decided to run out-patient departments at the Centre-run Safdarjung hospital for 12 hours a day as a pilot project, with the hospital’s Resident Doctors Association (RDA) demanding recruitment of more doctors for effective implementation of the move.
At present, OPDs in most government hospitals, including in Safdarjung, run for five hours a day, from 8 am to 1 pm with special afternoon clinics being operational for certain ailments like diabetes.
Under the new proposal, the OPDs will be operational from 8 am to 8 pm.
“The move is aimed at providing medical services to the patients round the clock,” a health ministry official said.
Once it is implemented successfully at Safdarjung hospital, the same will be replicated at other central government hospitals, an official said.
However, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) at Safdarjung hospital said the move would create more pressure on them.
“We are not against the proposal but the administration has to increase manpower to offer 12-hour OPD service. There is a shortage of doctors and they already work under too much of stress. Extending the timings would only add further pressure on them. More doctors have to be recruited,” a resident doctor said.
Meanwhile, the medical superintendent of Safdarjung hospital has directed all departments to give their feedback and submit strategies for working during the proposed extended OPD hours.