A day after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation asked the private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to open within 48 hours to increase the capacity to fight the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the association of hospitals and nursing homes Thursday submitted a representation citing their “concerns” and “challenges” they face in obeying these orders.
As many as 228 notices were issued to the private hospitals and clinics on Thursday after a review meeting of senior AMC officials chaired by Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta.
“In case of default, identified doctors shall be attached to private designated COVID-care centres/ COVID hospitals/ home quarantined patients. They will be asked to report to Deputy Municipal Commissioner who shall assign suitable duty location to these doctors,” the notice issued by Rajiv Kumar Gupta stated. Private clinics run by doctors above the age of 65 years have been exempted.
However, in response to these notices, the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association has submitted a representation expressing their “concerns” and also resentment in using “coercive methods”.
The representation submitted by the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association to Mukesh Kumar, Municipal Commissioner in-charge, stated, “We would appreciate if you take the fraternity into confidence for opening the clinics and nursing homes rather than using coercive methods. Coercive methods can only lead to confusion and misunderstandings.”
Among the concerns raised by the associations are transport facility for the staff and regarding the availability of PPE kits.
As most of the staff members uses public transport to commute, the association has demanded for pick-up and drop facilities. Also, for the safety of the staff, it has asked to identify vendors that can provide PPE kits and other material.
Further, for the patients, it has raised the concern of non-availability of kitchens at the nursing homes, lack of adequate space for physical distancing among the patients.
The association has also suggested to appoint a nodal person on behalf of the AMC, a medical officer who can guide doctors in case of queries related to administrative and clinical matters, to initiate RT-PCR testing of the staff on a priority so that once the patients start coming in there is no issue of infection and to start a hotline for patients that can provide information on which clinic or nursing home has started operations as COVID-care hospitals.
ANHA president Dr Bharat Gadhavi said that there was no meeting between AMC and private practitioners before taking the decision to open clinics within 48 hours.
“Coercive methods and enforcing acts would not work in a long run. They need to take private practitioners along rather than threatening. Everyone is ready to work with the authorities. But, at the same time, issues raised by staff should be addressed,” Dr Gadhavi told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the direction issued by Rajiv Kumar Gupta stated that in addition to seven private hospitals designated as COVID-19 hospitals, another eight with a total capacity of 800 beds were nominated on Thursday. These include SMS Multispecialty Hospital Chandkheda, Sindhu Hospital Kubernagar, Artham Hospital Ambawadi, Star Hospital Bapunagar, Anand Surgical Memco, CIMS Hospital Science City, Sardar Hospital Maninagar and Siddhivinayak Hospital Kankaria. This takes the total bed capacity to 1600.
In another important decision, an order was issued to 60 hotels consisting of 3,000 beds to provide air-conditioned facilities without any charge from patients. The cost will be borne by the AMC.
The AMC is also carrying out screening of super spreaders in full swing in each 48 wards of each 7 zones.
As many as 1,409 super spreaders were expected to be screened by the end of day
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