Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is dithering on its election promise of adding 30,000 beds to the existing hospitals owned by it in five years, even as thousands of hapless patients of dengue and chikungunya are queuing up at these hospitals for treatment.
According to an RTI reply provided by the Delhi government, it has added only 1,302 beds in around 15 months, which is just 5% of what was promised. The government has also not given Delhi any hospitals after coming to power.
As per the figures provided by the Directorate General of Health Services, Delhi government hospitals had 9,423 functional beds as against the sanctioned strength of 10,859 beds until 31 March. The bed count increased by only 1,302 until 27 June this year. The Delhi government owns 39 hospitals, with a total of 10,725 beds.
The AAP, in its 70-point election manifesto last year, had promised to add 30,000 beds in the hospitals. Out of these, 4,000 were supposed to be for maternity wards. The party said it would ensure the international standard of providing five beds for every 1,000 people. However, according to the reply, some hospitals, in reality, have fewer beds compared to the sanctioned strength. Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital has only 100 functional beds compared to the sanctioned bed strength of 150. Similarly, in Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital, there are 500 beds against the strength of 540. G.B. Pant Hospital has 697 functional beds compared to the sanctioned strength of 714.
According to the RTI activist Mukesh Gupta, who obtained the information from the Directorate General of Health Services, thousands of dengue and chikungunya patients want to be admitted in hospitals, but are not getting beds. “As per the promise, the government should have added at least 6,000 beds in one year on an average, for the next five years in order to fulfil its promise. Had the government been sincere, it would have added at least these many beds in the past 15 months. But the Chief Minister and other ministers are busy in Punjab and Goa elections and have hardly any time for citizens of Delhi, who had elected them last year,” he said.
According to information provided in the RTI reply, Lok Nayak Hospital has the highest number of beds (1,888), followed by GTB Hospital (1,729). As per the norms of the World Health Organization (WHO), there should be at least five beds for a population of 1,000. However, Delhi lags much behind, with only 2.71 beds for 1,000 people.