BENGALURU: In a major relief for patients across India who queue up as early as 4 am to collect a token to avail treatment at NIMHANS, the country’s premier mental health institute has plans to build a spacious, four-storeyed Outpatient Department (OPD) within its premises. It could cost up to Rs 280 crore. Dr Pratima Murthy, Director at NIMHANS told The New Indian Express, “We have sent a proposal to the Centre for its approval and funding. From an average of 400 to 500 patients visiting us in the mid-1990s, the number has shot up six times now. With anywhere between 2,000 to 2,500 people visiting us per day as outpatients, we want to make our hospital comfortable for them.”
The new OPD would be built behind the existing one. “The existing one would be eventually closed and the staff and medical equipment will be shifted to the new premises. We hope to convert the present one into a beautiful garden,” she said.
Patients come from far-off towns and a comfortable wait would reduce their stress levels inside their premises, Dr Pratima added.
NIMHANS had already undertaken measures recently to improve the waiting period for patients. “For instance, we launched separate queues for the elderly, pregnant women and for those with children, which has helped them considerably,” the senior Psychiatry professor said.
A survey conducted among patients on ‘Namma Aaspathri’ revealed that the waiting period and the insistence on only cash payment for a few services were few aspects the public were not happy with. “For 75% of our services we accept other modes of payment, but for others, we still take only cash,” she said.