AIIMS-Delhi has backtracked on its decision to shut down non-critical services for a half-day, following widespread criticism. The initial decision was made in light of the grand consecration event at Ayodhya’s Ram Temple.
AIIMS-Delhi’s administrative officer, Rajesh Kumar, issued a memorandum announcing the closure, citing the central government’s declaration of a half-day break for government employees on January 22, 2024. The notice raised concerns, particularly regarding the availability of Out Patient Department (OPD) services.
The move sparked a public outcry, with concerns raised about the inconvenience caused to patients who often wait for weeks or months for appointments at the premier healthcare facility. Critics emphasized the potential hardship faced by those who had travelled from outside Delhi seeking medical assistance.
In response to the backlash, AIIMS-Delhi released a new notification this morning, clarifying that the OPD “shall remain open to attend to patients with appointments to prevent any inconvenience and facilitate patient care.”
Safdarjung Hospital, another key healthcare facility in the capital, also clarified its position. OPD registration will take place between 8 am and 10 am, with pharmacy services available until noon. However, elective surgeries will not be conducted during this period.
Opposition leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and Trinamool Congress MP Saket Gokhale, had strongly criticized AIIMS-Delhi’s initial decision.
Chaturvedi sarcastically remarked, “Please don’t go into a medical emergency on the 22nd,” while Gokhale expressed concern about the prioritization of events over healthcare.
The central government’s announcement of a half-day leave for government employees to watch the live telecast of the pran pratishta ceremony in Ayodhya has led to similar announcements of leave in several states.