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OPD services at AIIMS will continue as usual, hospital blames media for ‘misinterpretation’

AIIMS medical superintendent who issued circular says it just said admissions via OPD would be suspended in light of Covid-19, but was ‘sensationalised’.

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New Delhi: OPD services at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will continue as usual, the premier institution clarified Thursday, after a circular issued by it said admissions via OPD would be suspended for two weeks to optimise usage of beds for Covid-19 patients.

AIIMS officials said the circular, issued by the medical superintendent, Dr D.K. Sharma, was misunderstood and misinterpreted by the media.

The circular had stated: “…need to optimise usage of available inpatient beds for hospitalisation of seriously ill emergency/semi-emergency patients, it has been decided to temporarily stop routine OPD admissions to general wards as well as private wards in AIIMS Hospital …for a period of two weeks.” It added that the decision would be reviewed after two weeks, depending on the situation.

However, Dr Sharma told ThePrint that the circular only meant admissions to the ward through OPD were suspended, not all OPD services.

“Wrong reporting by the media is not under our control. The circular (issued with prior approval of Director AIIMS) clearly mentions that routine OPD admissions have been temporarily stopped to ensure admissions of seriously ill/semi emergency patients. Nowhere is it mentioned that OPD services will be suspended; it was sensationalised,” he said.

Employee Health Scheme (EHS) patients, however, will continue to be hospitalised as clinically warranted.

Also read: AIIMS Delhi — India’s best medical college that’s home to many leaders of Covid battle

Situation at the hospital

When ThePrint visited AIIMS Thursday morning, most of the patients were not aware of any order suspending OPD services. No patient was found to have been returned due to the suspension of OPD admissions.

At the Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, those who had an appointment or OPD card were waiting outside. One of the interns involved in the screening process of patients said there has been no such direction to stop patients.

A staff member at the paediatric department said they had heard there would be no new OPD admissions for the next 14 days, but the patients were being allowed Thursday.

Similarly, outside the Rajkumari Amrit Kaur OPD and Dr B.R. Ambedkar Institute-Rotary Cancer Hospital too, many patients waited outside — a majority of them were regular patients either with appointments or those who had come for routine visits.

(With inputs from Unnati Sharma)

Also read: AIIMS nurses set up WhatsApp group to help Covid patients with blood, plasma donations


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