Chandigarh : October 18 : “We at PGIMER are fully conscious of our responsibility towards non-COVID patients and are keen to open the physical OPDs. However, in view of the huge footfall numbering over 10,000 on a routine day before COVID at our OPDs from across the region, it’s a decision worth waiting for some more time till it is amply clear that the worst is over and the plateau has actually been flattened. Any hasty decision may backfire, amounting to risking precious lives. ” stated Prof. Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER while sharing his views regarding the resumption of physical OPDs here at PGIMER.

“Also considering the upcoming festive season and with almost everything being unlocked, despite our wishing otherwise, surge in numbers cannot be ruled out. So we are keeping a close watch on the situation and preparing for resumption of physical OPDs through staggered steps .” Prof. Jagat Ram elaborated.

Throwing light on catering to the non-COVID patients during pandemic, the Director said, “These are challenging times and saving the COVID positive patients has been the key focus. But, this is also a misconception that the health needs of the non-COVID patients have not been addressed due to the closure of the physical OPDs. To put it in perspective, we would like to share that with an average of 1800-2500 patients reached out through tele-consultation on a daily basis, PGIMER has provided OPD consultation to almost Four Lakh patients since 19th May. In addition, 27,722 surgeries have been performed and 30,389 patients have availed treatment on admission in various departments.”

“Also, the physical OPD services in Gynae, Radiotherapy and Ophthalmology departments have been functional throughout the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring all the safety norms of the patients and the healthcare workers. These initiatives are in addition to the services being provided by emergency and trauma centre which have been functioning way beyond their bed strength through these challenging times,” added the Director while lauding his team.

“PGIMER has been proactively responding to the situation by boosting its tele-consultation services from time to time. It was on 16th October only that we not only increased the number of dedicated lines but also enhanced the time of registration from initial 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM to 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM facilitating the patients.”

“Likewise, to avoid the congregation of patients in the OPDs, the institute is ramping up the infrastructure required to ensure social distancing once the OPDs open by creating separate screening and holding areas, which is almost ready now.”

"Simultaneously, consultations are on with various stakeholders to work out the modalities to re-open the physical OPDs through staggered steps to ensure the safety of the patients while visiting the hospital,” asserted Prof. Jagat Ram.

Seeking cooperation from the community, the Director said, “Till the OPDs are functional, I would urge people to avail the specialised tele-consultation service of PGIMER. In fact, it is a win –win situation for both the patients as well as PGIMER. The patients avoid the hassle of commuting from far off places and the institute will benefit greatly due to the reduced congestion in our OPDs and thereby, checking the transmission of this contagious virus among our health care workers as well as patients attending the OPDs.”