Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, said here today that doctors must bear the burden of responsibility of strengthening the doctor-patient relationship. On the second day of his sanitation drive which is seeing him inspect facilities at the capital’s hospitals (the Health Minister visited Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital yesterday), the Minister was clearly on a mission to instil a new work culture in public health centres. “AIIMS New Delhi must preserve its high standards of treatment and the new ones planned throughout the country should always be perceived as AIIMS-like,” he stated.
Arriving at 9 am, the Minister first made a tour of the paediatric emergency ward, followed by all the wings of the Casualty and Outdoor departments. Guiding him were AIIMS director Prof. M.C.Mishra, medical superintendant Dr D.K. Sharma and other functionaries. The largest hospital in the country founded in 1956, AIIMS services, on a regular day, 3,000 out-patients who arrive, on an average by at least four others. That apart, there are at least 4,000 others admitted at any given time in its different departments. It was clear to the Minister that the facilities to handle the huge volume of patients and visitors are overstretched.
“How about posting two resident doctors at the reception of the emergency? I think the patients who arrive should not be made to wait for too long while awaiting the arrival of a doctor to take a look at them,” the Health Minister told the Director who made a note of the suggestion. Similarly, hordes of patients and their relatives went to the Minister and told them of their difficulties. The Minister assured them of the government’s intention to improve the delivery system. Later, at a meeting with heads of departments and officials, Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated what has emerged as the theme of the sanitation drive which was launched on World Environment Day (June 5) – compassion. “There exists only a hair’s breadth difference between good behaviour and bad behaviour in the doctor-patient interface. Young doctors and staff must be made to understand that a patient is a messenger of good image or otherwise. We need to continually monitor the agenda of compassion,” he said.
The government has already built six new AIIMS in the country and about ten more are planned in the future. Dr Harsh Vardhan noted that the new centres would need to look up to the one in Delhi as a role model. The doctors and staff there would need to see how Delhi manages its departments and cares for its patients, he stated. “I am keen to make this the best institute in India. So let us have more brain-storming sessions. I would like the specialists here to plan out strategies for the national level,” he said. The AIIMS authorities have already set in motion the Minister’s June 5 declaration of the intent to make the country’s premier government hospital environment-friendly so that it earns the “green” image.
Prof. Mishra announced that The Environment Research Institute (TERI) has already started work on developing specific targets. The hospital aims to reduce up to 30 percent of its energy conservation by using light emitting diode (LED) lamps indoors and solar-powered lamp posts in the common area. The premier environment consultancy, which is headed by Nobel Prize Winner Sh Rajendra Pachauri, has the objective to reduce AIIMS’ water consumption by 50 per cent and work on its urban heat island effect to reduce microclimate heat by at least 3 degrees Centigrade. Steps would also be taken to install barriers to sound and dust pollution. The certification parameters have been set by Griha India, a semi-government agency.