Updated: April 12, 2021 11:48:03 pm
WITH Covid cases continuing to rise and hospitals struggling to manage the surge, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) on Monday announced that as it is not in a position to set up a hospital on its own, it has decided to rent its Kavishree Amrut Ghayal Community Hall (KAGCH) to a private hospital to convert it into a 200-bed dedicated Covid healthcare centre (DCHC) so that more beds become available.
The decision comes three days after Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced that the hall would be converted into a facility to treat Covid patients.
Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Udit Agrawal said the decision to hand KAGCH over to Synergy Hospital, a private multi-specialty hospital in the city, was taken at a meeting chaired by Rajkot Mayor Pradeep Dav on Sunday, attended by deputy mayor Darshita Shah, RMC standing committee chairman Pushkar Patel and senior civic officials.
“Unlike big municipal corporations such as Ahmedabad, the RMC, in its history, has never run a hospital. The sense at the meeting was that this is not the best time to set up a hospital as work is required on war footing… beds are not available in hospitals. Trained staff are also not available to run a hospital. Therefore, we had approached the IMA (Indian Medical Association), seeking their help in setting up a hospital in the Amrut Ghayal hall to treat patients at the cost of the RMC. But the IMA turned down the proposal. So, as hospital beds are in short-supply, it was decided to rent the hall to Synergy to set up a hospital there and treat patients at discounted rates,” Agrawal told The Indian Express, adding the private hospital would pay Rs 45 lakh to RMC as monthly rent and that Synergy had applied earlier with the RMC for space for setting up a hospital.
Synergy Hospital already runs a 45-bed dedicated Covid hospital near Mavdi Chowkadi in the city.
The RMC decision comes three days after Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, during a visit to Rajkot on Thursday, had announced that the KAGCH will be converted into a Covid-19 hospital and that, during his review meeting with officers of the district, it was decided to fix oxygen lines in the hall located on Kalavad Road. The RMC had engaged a contractor to set up oxygen lines at a cost of around Rs 10 lakh and the work is in progress.
Covid-19 cases in RMC as well as in Rajkot rural have been rising significantly since mid-March. The RMC had reported 405 cases on Sunday and 250 more by Monday afternoon.
Rajkot rural on the other hand, had reported 70 cases. As of Sunday, Rajkot rural had total 411 active cases, of which, 243 were in hospitals or in covid care centres (CCCs) while the rest were in home isolation. RMC had 2,749 Covid-19 patients under treatment.
Officers of Rajkot district administration said that of the 2841 beds in various government and private facilities, only 182 were available while the rest were occupied as of Monday evening. The CM, during his visit to Rajkot had said that the number of beds in the district would be increased to 6631 within a week.
Of the 182 available beds, 17 were in private facilities while the rest in government facilities.
The Municipal Commissioner said the RMC was left with no other option in the given situation and therefore decided to rent the hall to Synergy hospital at commercial rate of Rs1.5 lakh per day. “Synergy hospital had earlier approached us seeking space to set up a hospital and therefore that party was chosen to convert the hall into a DCHC. They asked for discount in the rent but we didn’t agree and have decided to rent them the facility on the condition that it will treat patients at discounted rates,” Agrawal said.
The top civil officer said that instead of Rs 11,500 and Rs 9,500 daily charges as capped by the state government for oxygen bed and non-oxygen bed respectively, Synergy would charge patients only Rs 9,500 and Rs 7,000 respectively. “We had also offered the hall to the private hospital at nominal rent on the condition that it treat patients at even lower charges but it refused,” said Agrawal.
The commissioner further said that the civic body would use Rs 45 lakh monthly rent it will get for funding its Covid-19 surveillance and containment activities.
“We did not set up a Covid care centre (CCC) in that hall as people contracting Covid-19 in the current wave are requiring hospitalisation and medical oxygen. No one is going to CCC. Therefore, our effort is to make hospital beds available to people as soon as possible. We want the private party to make the hospital functional by this Thursday,” Agrawal said adding, the private hospital would be free to use oxygen lines being fixed by the RMC.
The hall in the posh western part of the city was inaugurated around two years ago but civic officers said that it has been booked for only 87 days.
Dr Nilesh Makadiya of Synergy Hospital said they would set up the hospital in a phased manner. “Setting up a hospital requires lots of resources also. So, we may not be able to have 200 beds in one one go. We shall add beds in a phased manner. Many things are still being discussed in our management team,” he said.
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