New Delhi: A special geriatric OPD to provide healthcare services to the elderly on Sundays was opened for public at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital. The outpatient department (OPD) was inaugurated by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday morning. In the initial days, services at the facility will be limited to five departments — medicine, general surgery, ENT, ophthalmology and orthopaedics, Dr Sunil Gupta, medical superintendent of the hospital, said. The Union minister also inaugurated several other medical facilities, including an advanced 3T MRI system – GE Healthcare’s 750W in the Radiology Department, a Cath Lab and a Lithotripsy machine in the Urology department. Also Read – Shashi Tharoor accepts Modi’s language challenge Advertise With Us Vardhan said health has been positioned as one of the top agenda of the government and the new OPD reflects that the prime minister is committed to fundamentally transforming the country and give quality health services to the people. “Under the leadership of our Prime Minister we are aggressively moving towards setting up state-of-the-art health facilities with the best equipment, techniques and buildings. Also Read – HC declines protection to Shivakumar from arrest Advertise With Us These are comparable to the very best in the country and the world,” he said. “As we move towards the vision of the prime minister of a New India by 2022, health shall be one of the key determinants and components of our advanced country, he stated. While interacting with the staff, paramedics and doctors at the Emergency Block, Vardhan stated that the aim of everyone in the hospital should be to see that no patient is turned back or referred to any other emergency facility. “Let us aspire to build our capacities and strengths such that we are able to attend to each emergency patient that needs our care,” he stated. He also reviewed the processes of registration of patients, referral and other services. He also visited the new Super Specialty Block and planted a sapling there. Advertise With Us Vardhan visited the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendra within the premises. He was told that medicines which cost as much as Rs500-600 in the market are sold at very economical rates of as low as Rs.105 at the Kendra. “The government is committed to ensuring that the out-of-pocket expenditure on medicines which form a significant part of healthcare cost is considerably reduced through such pharmacy centres,” he stated. He further stated that one of the priorities of the government is to expand quality tertiary health care facilities in all parts of the country. OPD services will start at 9.30 am and continue till 12.30 pm. Medicines will be issued at the dispensary from 9.30 am to 1 pm. Diagnostic facilities will be available at the Emergency Block. Geriatric OPD functions on weekdays too but then it came to notice that senior citizens often faced problems in accessing the medical facilities due to overcrowding, Gupta said. They often have to wait or stand in queues due to overcrowding following which the decision was taken, he said. Around 8,000-9,000 patients, of whom around 10-15 per cent are the elderly, visit the hospital daily for treatment in various departments. The initiative is aimed at providing special care and comfort to senior citizens and also to make them feel important, he said. Safdarjung Hospital is a 2,900-bed multi-speciality hospital. The hospital has a huge demand for MRI scans services with 40-50 scans being conducted every day and a waiting time of over three months for a person to get an MRI scan done. “Radiology services in the hospital will get a significant boost with the installation of a second MRI system – GE Healthcare’s 3T MRI system 750W, which comes with a host of advanced features,” a senior official said.