There will be no upper limit on the bill. The government will foot it, said CM Arvind Kejriwal, adding "there will be no dearth of funds for this scheme".
The AAP government's work in health sector
Why is this needed?
Delhi's government hospitals are grossly overburdened. Sometimes, critical patients have to wait for necessary operations for months. For some surgeries, the waiting period can go up to two years. Moreover, many don't have the necessary infrastructure needed for complex procedures.
Who are eligible for the scheme?
A patient in need of surgery which can't be performed at a government hospital within 30 days for any reason can be referred to one of the 48 empanelled private hospitals. The procedure will be conducted there in a fortnight.
The patient has to produce proof of residence, referral letter from government hospital, authorization form from the Delhi Arogya Kosh.
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Which surgeries at which hospitals can be availed for free?
The private hospitals the government has tied up with include Max Hospital, Medanta Medicity, Jeevan Nursing Home, ILBS Hospital and more. The free surgery option is limited to 52 operations, including heart bypass, cataract surgery, and 17 types of kidney procedures.
The AAP government's work in health has been significant
This is the AAP government's third major scheme in health; it earlier made medicines in government hospitals and tests in private ones free.
It has more plans: "Within a month we will launch a scheme to provide free treatment at private hospitals to victims of road accidents, acid attacks and people who suffer burn injuries," said Health Minister Satyender Jain.
Shouldn't infrastructure development be focused than referrals to private hospitals?
Critics say focus should have been on infrastructure development rather than referrals to private hospitals. However, according to Kejriwal, "Infrastructure development needs years, but a patient needs immediate treatment." "With infrastructure development, we want to hold all surgeries in government hospitals in future," he added.