Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday asked private hospitals to double their present capacity to treat Covid-19 patients following a video-conference with private hospitals in the backdrop of multiple instances where suspected and Covid-19 positive patients were turned away by both public and private hospitals due to dearth of beds. State Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta and Public Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas were also present.
There have been complaints that private hospitals have largely been missing — initially due to high infection rate amongst its own staffers — in sharing the pandemic burden till now. While municipal hospitals, with the current capacity of 3,600 beds, share 80 per cent of Covid-19 burden in the city, private hospitals contribute only 1,100 beds.
Manisha Mhaiskar, the officer on special duty in BMC said, “By May 31, we plan to add 2,100 beds in the public sector and 1,200 in the private sector. Every day, one or two wards are being opened in hospitals to expand Covid-19 treatment facility.”
Currently, there are over 4,800 beds in government and private hospitals to treat critical and moderately ill Covid-19 patients. With the patient load rising, and a surge expected in coming days, BMC has planned to increase number of beds to 5,700 in municipal hospitals and 2,300 in private ones.
Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean in KEM hospital, said while his hospital has 1,800 beds, it has reserved only 340 beds for Covid-19 patients till now. “We have logistics problem. We cannot open up all beds for patients. We need to streamline staff duty, have separate entry and exit points for isolation wards. We are slowly opening up more beds,” he said.
Private hospitals, too, have been asked to have a holding area where suspected Covid-19 patients can be treated until their test results come. Apart from augmenting beds for critical and moderately ill Covid-19 patients, Mumbai is hugely going to rely on jumbo facilities at NSCI Dome, JJ hospital, and BKC. NSCI dome and Mahalaxmi Racecourse together have 1,400 beds for mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, BKC will have 1,000 and JJ will soon add 500 beds.
Private doctors who are willing to treat Covid-19 patients are expected to be given posts at these centres.
The special 500-bed facility at JJ hospital will be set up on open ground. Doctors and medical staff of the hospital will handle the centre. It will also have around 100 beds with intensive care units for patients who are not critical but require oxygen support and intensive care.
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