April 18, 2021 8:41:21 am
Despite free treatment being available at government hospitals, private hospitals in Amritsar are seeing more occupancy as Covid cases surge in the district during the second wave.
According to Amritsar Covid-19 Nodal officer Dr Amarjit, private sector is treating 351 Covid-19 patients overall where as government sector has only 177 patients for treatment. Amritsar has 29 private hospitals offering Covid-19 treatment.
When it comes to Level-2 beds, Amritsar can accommodate 818 Covid-19 patients. Total 339 of these beds are available in government sector against 474 in private hospitals. Government hospitals have only 22.4 per cent Level-2 occupancy with 76 patients under treatment. Private hospitals, however, have 256 patients.
Guru Nanak Dev (GND) Hospital, under Government Medical College Amritsar, is only government facility providing 212 Level-3 beds against 250 in private sector. GND Hospital is treating 101 patients on Level-3 beds (47% occupancy), which are little more than 95 patients with 38% occupancy in private hospitals.
GND Hospital has little more patients also because in Majha, Amritsar is only the district, which has Level-3 beds in government sector. Most of the patients from Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Pathankot government hospitals on Level-2 beds are referred to GND Hospital until relatives ask for some private hospital in Amritsar.
Amardeep Singh Cheema, chairman of Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC), said, “I am also troubled with the requests from friends and relatives to get a bed in private hospitals. Or they call me to get some concession in the heavy bill handed over by private hospitals after the treatment. On other side, the treatment at government hospitals is totally free. The minimum bill in private hospitals starts from Rs 25,000 and runs into lakhs.”
He added, “If a person is experiencing any symptoms then he should go to the nearby government health centre. First, he will be tested and if found positive, he will be handed over a kit including medicines and Oxymeter. If your oxygen level drops then just call on 104. Rest will be the responsibility of the health department.”
The Indian Express found that some private hospitals have even been charging Rs 40,000 to 60,000 for an anti-viral injection.
“We are giving Remdesivir injection free of cost. Whereas antiviral injections with other names are being sold as costly as 60,000 in private hospitals,” said Cheema, adding: “Our resources are under untilised. We have 200 ventilators in Amritsar and only 20 are in use. There is no need to panic. I have myself cross-checked many such claims about some private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients better. But that’s not true.”
“There is too much stigma associated with Covid. Instead of focusing on their treatment, positive patients are sometimes more worried about how to hide the test result from villagers and relatives,” said Cheema.
One of the reasons behind the low response for the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital is the reason that the Government Medical College has remained in many controversies since the Covid-19 outbreak and it has hurt its image in public.
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