UPDATE: Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal has overruled Arvind Kejriwal's decision. This ensures that treatment is not denied to any patient on grounds of not being a resident of Delhi
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday brought to end a raging debate on whether Delhi hospitals should only be reserved for residents of Delhi.
Speaking to the press, he said “We received 7.5 lakh suggestions and 90% of the people said they would want Delhi hospital beds reserved for Delhiites,”
Following the decision, a 5-member expert committee panel was also set up to investigate the allegations that the national capital is facing a shortage of beds.
Expounding upon his decision, Kejriwal revealed that both state-run and private hospitals would be reserved for the people of Delhi. Till reservation is expected to continue till the COVID-19 crisis is over. Referencing to the committee’s analysis, the CM revealed that if the city’s hospitals were opened for all, it would run out of hospital beds in just 3 days.
“At any given time, nearly 60-70% of the patients in Delhi hospitals are from other states and we never deny treatment to any person. But right now, the cases are increasing in Delhi and the Delhi government is working relentlessly to arrange more beds for people of the city. If we get more cases in such a situation, where will we accommodate the patients of Delhi?” the chief minister said.
However, that doesn’t mean people not from Delhi have been prohibited from accessing healthcare in the city. Some hospitals providing specialized surgeries will be open for all. Similarly, central hospitals will be open for all patients as well.
While the decision has reached its culmination, we asked millennials how do they feel about it. Is it right to reserve hospitals according to residency during a pandemic? Here’s what they had to say
“I feel it is the right decision. It is the people of Delhi that pay the taxes for public utilities and state-run healthcare facilities. We’ve seen in other states how difficult it gets to secure hospital beds for patients when the cases arise. If I’m a taxpayer and expecting my government to help me during a pandemic, I will be pretty annoyed if people from other states come in and use those resources. Also, the cases in neighbouring regions are much less than that of Delhi. It is perfectly plausible that they are handled by the respective state governments as well.” -- Nikhil, 24
“The decision makes sense completely. They have only reserved hospitals which come under the jurisdiction of the state government. The central hospitals are free to access for everyone. It is the people of Delhi who have elected Kejriwal and he has to take their needs into priority first. As he said, if it is open for all there will be an influx of patients and that’ll overburden the state’s resources and create a big healthcare crisis in the state. If he doesn’t do this, people from all over will come in for treatment and it will create a shortage of beds for people living in Delhi.” --Vaishnavi, 21
“While I understand the decision, I don’t know how I feel about it. Like I don’t have a solution, but I think the best way could have been to develop some proportional measure to allot beds. A lot of people come to the city for healthcare facilities. The reason I say this is because the CM himself said that there is black marketing of beds happening. If that’s the case, seeing the number of cases in Delhi we’re bound to see a shortage if the cases shoot up. In that scenario, it will be pretty inhumane if a person is prohibited from accessing a hospital bed just because he/she is not from Delhi” -- Rishabh, 22
“I don’t agree with the decision. The reason is that, I live in the NCR region, and not every surrounding area has the best healthcare facilities. Most of us go to Delhi for healthcare treatments in normal circumstances as well. In times of crisis like these, it seems unfair that those have been cut off for the rest of the citizens. I think states need to figure out some way to maintain a balance between national and state resources, to ensure citizens don’t suffer during the pandemic.”-- Pallavi, 19
While the issue remains heavily debated, Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain staunchly defended his government’s decision. Given that the number of cases is increasing rapidly, so we need hospitals to treat city residents,” Jain told news agency ANI.
What do you feel about the decision? Should state government reserve hospitals for their own citizens? How can the issue be solved? Tell us in the comments section below!