The six All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospitals that were developed in different parts of India on the lines of AIIMS Delhi have been unable to stop patient inflow to the latter because of a lack of sufficient number of doctors in these regional branches.

After the setting up of six regional AIIMS (Patna, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Bhubhaneshwar), the Central government has announced the setting up of 13 more AIIMS including two at Jammu and Kashmir, one each at Gorakhpur, Assam and Bathinda. However, as per Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda’s admission in the Lok Sabha recently, these hospitals were yet to become fully functional because of the lack of required number of doctors.

As per Health Ministry officials, all these six AIIMS hospitals were working with less than 30% of the sanctioned medical staff including faulty posts and doctors.

According to Nadda, who was responding to a question by Alok Sanjar, BJP MP from Bhopal, out of the total 1,830 faculty posts that have been sanctioned in the six different AIIMS, only 512 posts were filled (only 28% vacancy filled).

Similarly, out of the 1,962 posts of senior resident doctors, only 399 posts were filled (only 20% vacancy filled), and out of the total sanctioned post of 1,806 junior resident doctors across these six AIIMS, only 212 doctors were working (only 12% vacancy filled). Explaining the delay in the recruitment of doctors, Nadda stated that “As high standards have to be maintained in selection keeping in view the stature of these institutes of national importance, all the advertised positions could not be filled up.”

Repeated e-mails and text messages sent to the Health Minister for his response to the issue did not elicit any reply.

An official with the Patna AIIMS stated that the hospital was suffering from resources crunch due to which the doctors were unwilling to join the hospital.

“We are working at 30% of our ability right now as there is a huge vacancy of doctors. We still do not have basic equipment that are needed for a hospital to function, hence, we have to turn away patients and once people become aware that facilities here are not adequate, they stop coming,” the official said.

This year, the Budget allocation for the health ministry was increased from Rs 33,765 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 38,892 crore. In comparison to AIIMS Delhi, where on an average 10,000 people visit the OPD daily, these six AIIMS hospitals see only 1,000 people each in their OPDs. Officials said that out of these 10,000 patients that visit the AIIMS OPD, on an average 3,000 patients come from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh because of  a lack of good hospitals in those states.

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