After remaining closed for three months, OPD services at AIIMS here resumed on Thursday for follow-up patients and each department will initially cater to not more 15 cases a day. For the first time in its history, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences shut down its OPD services, including speciality, and all new and follow-up registrations from March 24 as part of its effort towards redirecting its resources to control the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since then, doctors at the institute have been providing tele-consultation to all follow-up patients in an effort to reduce the need for them to visit the facility during the lockdown. Till Wednesday, 79,926 tele-consultations were provided to patients, sources said.
According to a June 23 circular, the director of AIIMS has approved the resumption of physical appointments for old/follow up patients, “not to exceed 15 per day for any department initially which will be enhanced in a few days”.
In addition, requisite appointments for limited number of new patients will also be given for those departments who wish to start physical OPD consultation for a limited number of new patients, the circular stated.
Also, patients will be screened for influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms before they are being allowed to enter the OPD. Besides, the hospital on May 2 had made it mandatory for patients to wear masks while visiting the Emergency or other patient care areas in the hospital and will provide one to anybody who does not have their own masks.
“It will be the prerogative of the departments to call patients directly or screen them through tele-consultation before giving a physical appointment,” the circular said.
No appointments will be given for evening specialty clinics in the first phase of OPD reopening. Patients can be given appointment for OPD consultation directly by the department or through the computer facility as decided by the department concerned. However, if an appointment is given from the department, the departmental appointment list will have to be intimated to the computer facility and faculty in-charge of the OPD 48 hours in advance.
All heads of clinical departments in AIIMS have been requested to provide information on the date of resumption of physical OPD for patients of the departmentment concerned and daily list of patients along with their telephone numbers who have been given appointment for physical consultation. The hospital has been providing treatment to infected individuals at its two dedicated facilities –Trauma Centre and NCI Jhajjar for over two months. AIIMS had also postponed all nonessential elective procedures and surgeries and only emergency life-saving surgeries were conducted from March 21.