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Not enough hospital beds, admits Delhi government

The Capital has more doctors than prescribed by international standards for every 1,000 citizens, but barely makes the cut when it comes to the availability of hospital beds, the Delhi government told the Delhi Legislative Assembly during the recently concluded monsoon session.

In reply to a starred question by Malviya Nagar AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, the Health Department said the city has three doctors for every 1,000 citizens — more than the internationally prescribed 1:1,000 doctor to population ratio. The World Health Organization (WHO) also prescribes a 1:1000 doctor-population ratio.

However, when it comes to hospital beds, Delhi has less than the required 3:1,000 hospital bed to population ratio. At 2.7:1,000, the ratio in the city is slightly below what the Health Department termed “international standards”.

The department also conceded that there is a shortfall of doctors and medical staff at government hospitals. Around 19% of the total posts of doctors, over 14% posts of nursing staff and over 18% posts of paramedical employees are vacant.

“On the basis of the latest international standards, the doctor to population ratio should be 1:1,000 and the hospital bed to population ratio should be 3:1,000,” the department said.

“Delhi has an estimated 70,000 doctors registered with the Delhi Medical Council, which is more than international standards. For a population of two crore, the number of hospital beds is estimated at 54,000,” it also stated.

According to the department, the Delhi government was remodelling 94 existing dispensaries as polyclinics and 28 such clinics were currently functional.

New hospitals
While 505 Mohalla Clinics are currently operational, the department stated, three new hospitals had been opened between 2015 and 2021: one each at Ambedkar Nagar, Burari and Dwarka, while four more were under various stages of construction, according to the department.

The department also submitted that 2,524 of the total 15,568 sanctioned posts across various levels at government hospitals were currently vacant.

The highest percentage of vacant posts was of doctors, according to the Health Department.

The department stated that of the 2,583 posts of doctors at government hospitals, 487 or almost 19% were vacant; 1,203 of the 8,407 sanctioned posts of nursing staff and 834 of the 4,578 posts of para-medical staff were also vacant.

‘Adding more beds’
The department stated it was in the process of adding 3,237 more beds to the existing pool of hospital beds, had been consistently seeking the filling of vacancies at government hospitals and many existing city hospitals were being remodeled to accommodate more beds on their premises. The Hindu

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