The Gujarat government, after having tied up with private hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in Ahmedabad, has referred more patients for critical care to private hospitals than to its own facilities.
Nearly a month since the requisitioning of private hospitals was commenced by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), more than double the number of critical patients are admitted at 55 private hospitals in Ahmedabad than at the seven government-run ones. Against 34 patients in government hospitals, 79 patients are on ventilators in private ones.
This is the case with patients admitted at 55 private hospitals across all categories, despite a larger bed capacity available with the government.
There is a total capacity of nearly 3,700 beds in the seven government Covid hospitals of Civil Asarwa, Civil Sola, SVP Hospital, UN Mehta Hospital, Institute of Kidney Diseases & Research Centre (IKDRC), ESIC Model Hospital Bapunagar and Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute (GCRI). This is against nearly 2,100 beds reserved with the AMC in 55 private hospitals for Covid patients. The number of active Covid cases in Ahmedabad on Thursday stands at 3,572.
For instance, under the tertiary Covid treatment at seven government hospitals, a total of 1,250 patients are admitted while the same number at its private counterparts is 1,430. Nearly 66 patients are admitted at government hospitals against 112 at private hospitals under the bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), the non-invasive ventilation. Similarly, 424 are on oxygen support at the private hospitals against 370 at government hospitals.
Admitting the same, president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) Dr Bharat Gadhavi said, “Lately, the government is not admitting patients to its hospitals. The possible reasons could be that they started Covid treatment much earlier than private hospitals, so there might be a fatigue factor that could have played with regard to the medical and the paramedical staff.”
However, sources in the government revealed that anticipating a spike in positive cases in the coming weeks, the government is keeping its health infrastructure available for critical patients, thus, currently unburdening government hospitals by referring majority of the new cases to private hospitals.
“When the government is paying private hospitals even for the vacant beds, then why should these not be occupied by patients?” remarked a senior government health official.
A similar high number of Covid patients being admitted has been recorded at Covid care centres in the city. Barely 10 patients are at the two Covid care centres run by the AMC, against 58 asymptomatic patients at the 11 such private centres.
The AMC on May 16 had requisitioned 42 private hospitals and designated them as Covid hospitals, wherein 50 per cent of the total beds were to be reserved for patients to be referred by the AMC and the rest to be admitted and treated privately on their own. From 42, the private hospitals roped in presently is 55.
Rates for both occupied as well as vacant beds under different categories were also fixed, which were revised and substantially increased from the earlier Government Resolution (GR) issued by the state government on April 16. It was realised that the rates are meant for the entire state of Gujarat, not taking into account Ahmedabad where it was felt that the rates should be different. Private hospitals in the city are paid between Rs 720 and Rs 1,800 for empty beds, while for occupied beds, the rates fixed are between Rs 4,500 and Rs 11,250.
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