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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Cannot pass order on allocating Covid beds, hospitals know best: Delhi HC

The court was hearing a petition alleging that hospitals were following a “VIP Culture” in allocation of beds. The petition, filed by a Delhi resident Manjit Singh, sought a fair and transparent mechanism for allocating beds to Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 21, 2021 6:37:36 pm
Delhi covid newsA dedicated Covid facility in Delhi (Express File/Amit Mehra)

OBSERVING THAT it cannot formulate a mechanism for allocation of Covid-19 beds, the Delhi High Court on Friday said these calls have to be taken by hospitals and doctors on ground. It also said beds for a certain category of persons like the President or Prime Minister have to be reserved and one cannot have a grudge with that.

“The situation is such that you expect the court to pass orders on these matters… is very difficult. These calls have to be taken, best left to the hospitals, best left to the treating doctors at that point of time. Beyond a point, we cannot fiddle with this,” said the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, while hearing a petition alleging that hospitals were following a “VIP culture” in allocation of beds.

The petition filed by a Delhi resident Manjit Singh sought a fair and transparent mechanism for allocating beds to Covid patients in hospitals. It also sought a centralised government agency and help-desks outside every Covid hospital in Delhi to help patients locate a bed. The beds were being allocated on the basis of different considerations, senior advocate Vivek Sood argued on Friday.

The bench said two weeks ago, there was a crisis of scarcity where a large population was faced with limited infrastructure. It became a problem which nobody was able to deal with and only because of the sheer number, added the court.

“Today the situation is not there because there are lots of vacant beds available. Assuming the situation were to become as bad as it was… the problem is that when you have, let us say, as opposed to 5,000 hospital beds, your requirement is for 50,000 who need admission; then your system that you are talking about putting in place, that just crumbles… then it is the right time at the right place. If you are fortunate, you are at a hospital gate… the doctor sees who is the most deserving and says ‘ok you take the bed’,” it added.

The court also said it has already sought information from hospitals regarding their admissions after an allegation was made that some of them were deliberately keeping beds occupied and not discharging patients in accordance with the policy on hospitalisation of Covid patients. It also said orders have been passed on different aspects related to beds since last month.

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