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AMC withdraws rule on admission of Covid patients arriving in ‘108’ ambulances

In another major decision, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said private hospitals, treating Covid patients anywhere in the city of Ahmedabad, shall provide minimum 75 per cent and up to 100 per cent of total number of operational beds for Covid-19 patient treatment.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: April 28, 2021 9:12:25 pm
Ahmedabad, Covid-19Ambulances with covid patients wait for admission at Civil hospital in Asarwa, Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Wednesday relaxed several of its rules regarding hospital admission to Covid patients, lifting the restricting of admission to only Covid-19 patients arriving in EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute-run) ‘108’ ambulances at the civic body-run hospitals and directed private dedicated Covid hospitals to free up a minimum 75 per cent of beds for Covid patients.

The move comes a day after the Gujarat High Court asked the state government to direct hospitals to admit all Covid-19 patients approaching them, instead of just those arriving through the ‘108’ ambulance service.

Following an emergency meeting, Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta, who is also the Ahmedabad Officer on Special Duty (OSD), announced the rule of admission in Covid-19 hospitals to patients arriving only through the ‘108’ ambulances stood withdrawn from 8 am on April 29.

The order issued by the additional chief secretary stated: “This means that Covid-19 patients shall be admitted by all hospitals — private, AMC and any other government hospitals within the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s limits treating Covid-19 patients, designated or otherwise, if they reach these hospitals by any means.”

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This, the order states, also applied to the AMC-requisitioned bed in private hospitals where “no ‘108’ control room reference will be required”.

There are four AMC-run facilities — SVP Hospital, LG Hospital, SCL Hospital and VS Hospital, in the city. The civic body has, so far, requisitioned 1400 beds for Covid-19 patients at 170 private designated hospitals alone. While combining both private hospitals and nursing homes, this comes to 8497 beds for Covid-19 patients at 347 private designated hospitals and nursing homes.

“Anyone (patients) can use either the ‘108’ services, private ambulance, any private vehicles or merely walk-in to a Covid hospital in the city now, and they will be admitted depending upon the availability of beds,” Gupta said.

On Tuesday, the High Court had pulled up the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), for following a policy different from that of the state government with respect to admissions and treatment in hospital strictly by the ‘108’ ambulance service. Chief Justice Vikram Nath said, “You say government hospitals are admitting patients who are coming in private vehicles also. Now AMC insists that only patients coming in 108 ambulances will be admitted… Why? Is the corporation not under the supervision and control of the state…”

Scraps Aadhaar card rule

The AMC on Wednesday also withdrew its previous order that made Aadhaar card with an Ahmedabad address mandatory for admissions. “The requirement of Aadhaar card is also hereby withdrawn with immediate effect in larger public interest and to facilitate quick admissions and treatment to patients requiring urgent care,” the order issued by the additional chief secretary stated.

After the high court pulled up the state government for denial of admission to critical care patients by hospitals, the AMC announced, “No hospital, providing Covid-19 treatment in Amdavad, shall deny admission to any and Covid patient requiring urgent attention on any technical grounds whatsoever. This is mandated to save precious human lives.”

Following the high court’s observations on transparency and real-time status of beds, the AMC Wednesday also directed all hospitals, providing Covid treatment in the city, to share real-time data in the public domain by ensuring connectivity to the state portal. All hospitals have been also instructed to put up this real-time information on big boards outside hospitals for the public at large, on hourly basis.

More beds added

In another major decision, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said: “Private hospitals, treating Covid patients anywhere in the city of Ahmedabad, shall provide minimum 75 per cent and up to 100 per cent of total number of operational beds for Covid-19 patient treatment.”

This means, only 25 per cent beds shall be made available to non-Covid patients. The move is expected to add 1,000 beds in the city for Covid-19 treatment.

On April 8, the AMC had ordered private hospitals, designated as Covid facilities, to provide 50 per cent of the total beds for Covid treatment.

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