THE DELHI High Court Wednesday asked the Delhi government to consider reviewing its order directing 33 major hospitals to reserve 80 percent ICU beds for Covid patients, after it was argued that there is no justification to continue with the order as a number of such beds remain vacant in hospitals on account of the improving coronavirus situation in the capital.
Justice Navin Chawla asked the government to place its response before the court on or before December 15, the next date of hearing. The court observed that the review needs to be taken immediately if around 50 percent of the beds are lying vacant.
The government counsel Sanjoy Ghose earlier submitted that the matter be adjourned for hearing to a date after 10 days, adding that the government will review it before then. The review is scheduled to take place on December 17, the court was told.
A division bench of the High Court last month permitted the Delhi government to enforce the order asking 33 major private hospitals to reserve ICU beds for Covid patients. The court has been hearing a petition by Association of Healthcare Providers (India)against the government order.
During the resumed hearing of the case, senior advocate Maninder Singh opposed the request for adjournment and submitted that 534 Covid-19 ICU beds with ventilators and 1,908 ICU Covid-19 beds without ventilators are vacant as per the official data available on the government website. The court was also told that out of 1,420 non-Covid-19 beds, only 314 are lying vacant.
In its plea filed through advocate Sanyam Khetarpal, AHPI argued that the order directing private hospitals to reserve their 80 percent of ICU beds for Covid-19 patients violates the fundamental right of the non-Covid critical patients and that it is for the State to create adequate infrastructure for medical healthcare and treatment of the citizens in the state.
“Even in normal circumstances, indisputably 45-55% of the ICU beds are always needed for emergency patients received directly in the ICUs as well as the patients admitted in the wards and rooms becoming critical during treatment… thereby (requiring) immediate shifting to the ICUs,” it has argued. The plea added that there are several hospitals which have only a single ICU ward which cannot be divided into separate parts to enable segregation of the Covid-19 patients from non-Covid patients.
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