Thursday, August 7, 2014

VIPs help patients jump AIIMS queue

 

By Neetu Chandra Sharma in New Delhi
EVERY day, hundreds of patients throng the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences ( AIIMS) and keep waiting for hours for their turn to consult doctors but those who manage to get a letter from a VIP do not endure such hardship.
According to sources, it is common for such patients to show up with reference letters from the offices of politicians like Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan, Maneka Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj.
The AIIMS protocol division that coordinates visits of international delegations for academic exchanges and collaboration has been given the task of attending to patients referred by VIPs. It also works to facilitate the treatment of VIPs themselves. This includes fixing up appointments in the OPD, consultations, investigations and assurance of admission as and when required.
According to the protocol division’s data, 2,087 patients referred by VIPS have been attended to in the past three years. “ Few people know about the protocol division. The number of patients we have to see through the director’s and the medical superintendent’s office is 10 times higher than the mentioned figure,” a senior AIIMS doctor said.
In June, Additional Private Secretary to the WCD Minister, Anand Lal Chaudhary wrote to the AIIMS to admit a peon from Pilibhit for treatment. Another patient Shailendra Tyagi got himself admitted within a few days of reaching the AIIMS since the Ghaziabad resident had a recommendation letter from Congress leader Motilal Vora for a liver transplant.
Ministers and politicians and their families have a right to get free treatment at the premier institute.
“ Apart from these, many other people like judges of the high court and apex court, bureaucrats and MLAs from UP and Bihar issue reference letters.
There are pros and cons of all these facilities. The VIPs issue letters to the needy and their families,” a senior official from the protocol division said.
AIIMS spokesperson Amit Gupta could not be reached for comments.
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