June 8, 2020 4:00:51 am
Beds in Delhi’s private hospitals and in hospitals run by the state government will be reserved for residents of Delhi until the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday.
This policy will not apply to hospitals run by the central government — such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, and Safdarjung Hospital etc. — Kejriwal said in a webcast.
Private hospitals that undertake specialised surgeries too, will be exempt, he said.
The reservation of beds for Delhi residents will come into effect as the borders of Delhi are unsealed on Monday. This policy will apply to all illnesses, not just the novel coronavirus disease.
A late night order signed by Delhi Health Secretary Padmini Singla said increased interstate movement would put more load on both Covid and non-Covid hospitals in Delhi, as patients approach them “from other parts of the country”.
“It has been observed that there has been a surge in the number of positive cases… in the last few days in Delhi, resulting in additional demand of hospital beds, consumables and infrastructure.
“…It is hereby ordered that all the hospitals operating under Government of NCT of Delhi and all the private hospitals & nursing homes shall ensure that only bona fide residents of NCT of Delhi are admitted for treatment in these hospitals. However, transplantation, oncology, neurosurgeries will continue to function for all patients, irrespective of the place of residence. However, treatment relating to oncology, transplantation, neurosurgery shall continue for all patients, irrespective of the place of residence. Also any medico-legal victims of road accidents, acid attacks happening within NCT of Delhi will continue for all patients, irrespective of place of residence,” the order said.
Documents that will be treated as valid proof of residence include the patient’s voter ID, bank/kisan/post office current passbook, ration card, passport, driving licence, Income-Tax return filed or assessment order, latest water, power, gas, telephone bills for that address either in the name of the patient or that of his/her immediate relation “like parents etc”, and the postal department’s post received in the patient’s name at the given address.
In case of minors, these documents in name of parents, or Aadhaar card made prior to June 7, 2020, will be considered valid.
The decision, aimed at “striking a balance”, was based on inputs received from the people, as well an expert committee headed by the vice-chancellor of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Dr Mahesh Verma, Kejriwal said.
Ninety per cent of the 7.5 lakh respondents to the government’s invitation for suggestions had expressed themselves in favour of reserving beds for Delhiites, he said.
“The five-member [Dr Verma] committee assessed the situation and found that by the end of June, Delhi will require around 15,000 beds to treat corona patients. There are around 10,000 beds each in Delhi government- and Centre-run hospitals. The [Delhi] Cabinet has decided that beds in Delhi government hospitals should be reserved only for people of Delhi. Centre-run ones will be open to all. Even private hospitals will have to reserve beds for Delhi residents. However, a few hospitals where special surgeries are undertaken in the field of neuro, oncology, and transplantation will cater to everyone,” the chief minister said.
There are 38 health facilities, including AYUSH hospitals, under the Delhi government, with a combined bed capacity of around 11,000.
As of Sunday, 2,915 of the total 4,176 beds in the four dedicated Covid-19 hospitals under the Delhi government were vacant, records showed.
The five Centre-run Covid-19 facilities in the national capital were facing greater patient pressure, the records showed, with only 174 of the total 1,502 beds available.
Of the 150 ICU and ventilator beds in Delhi government hospitals, 94 were available; in Centre-run hospitals, 108 such beds were available.
A total 8,049 beds are available in Delhi government and private hospitals, of which 3,799 were vacant on Sunday. Of the 480 beds for critical patients in government and private facilities, 243 were occupied.
Overall, in private hospitals, 710 out of 2,371 beds were vacant.
On May 18, Kejriwal had said Delhi was prepared to tackle up to 50,000 active cases of coronavirus infection. Delhi has had 28,936 cases so far, of which 17,125 are active.
Kejriwal said the expert panel had estimated that all beds available for Covid-19 patients would be taken within three days if people from across the country were admitted.
“The people of Delhi have never refused treatment to those from other states who, at any given time, form 60 to 70 per cent of patients in Delhi government hospitals,” Kejriwal said.
“But corona cases are now rising alarmingly in the city. In a situation like this, if hospitals are open to people from all states, where will the people of Delhi go? The panel has suggested that beds should be reserved for a few months. The Cabinet decided that there is a need to strike a balance,” he said.
“So, we will open up borders and reserve beds in Delhi government hospitals. And the Centre-run hospitals will be for people across the country. The private hospitals will also be reserved for Delhi people. But those conducting specialised surgeries, which are not available elsewhere, will be for all. This balance will protect the rights of people of Delhi as well as those from other states.”
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