Unending wait for tests at AIIMS

Bookings for X-ray, CT scan, USG to start next week

Jairam Sharma and his wife were in Delhi for the fourth time in three months. Sharma’s wife is undergoing treatment for in-vitro fertilisation at AIIMS for the last six months. The couple hail from Asansol in West Bengal.

“We chose to come to AIIMS because it would offer high-class treatment and the cost would be more effective than in private hospitals in West Bengal,” said Sharma.

“However, with the diagnosis dates spanning over months, we have to visit the hospital every month. We will be unable to manage the train fare if we have to travel so frequently,”  The next date of ultrasonography for Sharma’s wife is August 21. There is no date available before that.

Prolonged process

“We are aware that with the rush at AIIMS, dates are not available closely. But this prolonged process is making us impatient now. If we have to wait for one test for this long, it is really difficult,” said Sharma’s wife.

For Ranu Kawal, in her mid-sixties, the waiting period is no less. “I will be on medication for three months before the reason behind my discomfort is diagnosed. Reports from outside laboratories are not accepted. So we have to depend on the hospital service,” said Kawal.

Her date of ultrasongraphy test shows August 21 too. This extends the waiting period for patients to over three months.
   
Advance booking

Recently, in an internal meeting, the AIIMS authorities decided that patients will be attended to in outdoor patient departments only with prior booking, starting June 1.

However, the AIIMS authorities are planning to introduce advance booking system to diagnostic services like X-rays, CT-scans and ultrasonography (USG) from next week.

While patients fear that this process might prolong their waiting period, the AIIMS authorities are confident that the streamlined process will enable handle the patient traffic better.

“Patients will be able to make advance booking from any counter instead of queuing up for hours. With comfortable booking, people also tend to drop out at the last moment. This will lessen the rush and might help us bring down the waiting period for patients. Also, with services like USG, we will have a 25 per cent quota for emergency walk-in every day,” said Dr Deepak Agarwal, in-charge of the IT wing of AIIMS. 

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