Updated: May 10, 2021 7:23:35 am
UNION MINISTER OF State for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar had on Thursday, May 6, written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath complaining about delays in admission of Covid patients in hospitals, black marketing of medical equipment such as ventilators, and key health officials in his Lok Sabha constituency Bareilly, not responding to phone calls.
On Saturday, Adityanath accompanied Gangwar to Bareilly and took stock of the Covid facilities in the district. The next day, when Gangwar’s letter to the UP Chief Minister went viral on social media, Chief Medical Officer of Bareilly Dr Sudhir Kumar Garg issued fresh instructions to health officials to be mindful of the issues raised by the MoS.
In the letter, Gangwar, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Bareilly, said multipara monitor, bipap machine and ventilator were being black marketed and sold at 1.5 times their prices. “I request you to fix the rates of these equipment on behalf of the government and that MSME registered private hospitals should be given a discount,” the letter said.
The Union minister also said Covid patients should be referred and admitted to L-3 hospitals in the “least possible time”. “I have been informed that despite having a referral letter, when a patient goes to a government hospital, he is asked to get another referral from the district hospital. The patient has to run from one place to another while his oxygen levels are continuously falling. This is a worrying issue. I request you to bring in a system where, when a patient is first referred, then all referral government hospitals are written on his prescription so that the patient does not have to run around,” Gangwar’s letter said.
When contacted, Gangwar told The Indian Express, “Yes, I wrote the letter. But it was not to attack the government nor is it against the government. I have spoken to the Chief Minister also.”
On Sunday, Bareilly had 6,387 active cases, with 736 cases reported in the last 24 hours, according to data provided by the state government. When contacted, Bareilly District Magistrate Nitish Kumar told The Indian Express Bareilly had 465 ICU and SDU (Step Down Unit) beds along with around 1,200 oxygen beds. “Around 200 of these beds are currently vacant,” he said.
Referring to the Union Minister’s complaints, Bareilly CMO Dr Garg said, “I receive all calls that come to me. I call back people if I miss their call. I can’t say much about other officers, but no one has raised such a concern… I had received the MP’s letter through the district magistrate and after getting it, I issued a fresh set of instructions on Sunday to all Nodal officers to be careful of the issues.”
On the demand for referral letters by hospitals, the CMO said, “There is a system for referral from the District Integrated Central Command Centre and private medical colleges have also been told to admit patients and continue with referral letter proceedings later. Maybe, the lower-level officials have told some people that there is no referral and hence admission can’t be done… There is also an issue of patients coming from other districts because people from at least 15 districts come to Bareilly for treatment. We don’t know who has told the minister about the issue, but maybe it is people from other districts because officials may be asked them for referral.”
In his letter, Gangwar also pointed out that people were hoarding oxygen cylinders and selling these at high prices in Bareilly. Citing the example of Madhya Pradesh, he said hospitals there were being provided 50 per cent rebate under MSME for setting up oxygen plants. “It is my suggestion that the 50 per cent concession is given to private and government hospitals as soon as possible so that the issue of oxygen is resolved,” he said. —(With inputs from Liz Mathew in New Delhi)
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