Arvind Kejriwal: All Delhiites can get free surgeries at private hospitals

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Dy CM Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain at the launch the free surgery scheme on Saturday.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday formally launched a scheme that facilitates free surgeries at private hospitals, which will be sponsored by the Delhi government.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that “if a patient doesn’t get a date for surgery at a government hospital within one month, the hospital would refer him to private hospitals and the government would pay all the expenses”.

According to the scheme, if the waiting period for 52 surgeries — heart bypass, cataract and kidney stones removal,etc—listed by the government is more than one month, patients would be eligible to get it done at 48 empanelled hospitals. The free surgery can be conducted within a fortnight. There will be no cap on the amount of bills.

There will not be a need to give proof of income, but the patient will need to provide proof that he/she is a resident of Delhi. Moreover, patients can choose any private hospital from the list they are comfortable with.

Kejriwal said this was the third in a series of initiatives taken by his government to improve health facilities, after ensuring free medicines in all government hospitals and allowing free medical tests at private diagnostic centres.

The opposition, however, panned the ‘free surgery scheme’ saying the government is trying to divert attention from corruption charges it is facing. The money paid to private hospitals for treatment could instead be used to augment existing government facilities, they said.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said the AAP government had announced to increase its health budget by 50 per cent and promised to convert all its hospitals into super speciality facilities, “but now it is admitting its failures by providing health services through private hospitals”.

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