Appointments must now to see OPD doctors at AIIMS

Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences OPDs will see patients only by appointment from June 1. The decision was taken in an internal meeting last week.

Also, all counters will be open for patients to access any kind of service.

The hospital decided to streamline the process to do away with patients waiting in queues for hours.

However, this also means that it might take over three weeks for patients to get a chance to attend the outdoor patient departments (OPDs).

“The new rule will be implemented starting June 1. We decided to streamline this process, so patients do not have to go back home without a check-up on a given day.

Usually there are quotas for each OPD, beyond which patients are not attended to. With bookings available in advance, it will be a smoother experience for them,” said Dr Deepak Agarwal, in-charge of the IT wing AIIMS.

At present, there is a 25 per cent quota on a day when patients are checked on a first-come-first-serve basis.

In February, AIIMS authorities had launched a pilot project at the Rajkumari Amrita Kaur OPD block, where patients were being seen after they sought appointments.

Currently, the closest date available for the ENT OPD is June 4.

However, OPD departments like surgery, medicine and paediatrics see milder rush. Patients can currenty walk in into these OPDs with tokens.

“There is a cap of 200 new patients in the ENT department daily. The same number of old patients come for check-ups,” said Agarwal.

The OPDs see between 7,000-8,000 patients every day. The authorities have planned to take extra bookings on any given day.

“We have instructed the staff to take 40 per cent bookings beyond the capacities. This is because almost the same percentage of patients drop out on a day when prior bookings are done,” said Agarwal.

Appointment services will also be extended to X-rays, CT-scans and ultrasonography.

With counters catering to different departments, patients in this sprawling campus are always at a loss. Reshma, a Badarpur resident, said, “I am in the hospital from 9.30 am. It is past one and I still haven’t been able to figure out which counter to go to for my X-ray reports. It is such a hassle cluelessly running from one counter to another.”

The hospital is planning to put an end to the woes of patients starting next month. “We are aware how hassled patients feel in this process.

So a single window will give information regarding all OPDs, including radiology reports,” said Agarwal.

The hospital is also in the process of floating a tender for a call centre and make online booking available.

“This will come at a later stage. Patients will be sent confirmation messages once they take an appointment. We will also communicate with them through e-mails. Currently, we are noting down the phone numbers of patients taking appointments,” said Agarwal.

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