Private hospitals have been reporting a spike in new admissions of Covid-19 patients with the wait list for intensive care units in several hospitals growing over the past week.
The increased strain is being attributed to the probability of people contracting the infection during Ganeshotsav, which saw increased socialising. Also, BMC’s decision to reconvert 72 nursing homes into non-Covid centres is forcing people to turn towards private hospitals.
Data available in the public domain shows that of the 15,911 isolation beds in the city, 7,663 are available — suggesting that adequate number of beds are at hand to cater to patients.
However, the availability of beds in private hospitals is substantially lower than that in public hospitals. Only 59 ICUs remain vacant in the private sector as opposed to 113 in the public sector till September 3. In private hospitals, while 82 per cent of allotted the beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients, public hospitals had lower occupancy at 70 per cent.
“Until August, we had two or three patients on the wait list for ICU any given day. But in the last few days, the list has grown to 10 to 12 patients,” said Dr Gunjan Chanchalani, head intensivist in Bhatia hospital.
Chanchalani herself remains admitted with Covid-19 in the hospital’s ICU. Admissions in the hospital since Ganeshotsav has increased, she added.
Dr Gulnar Khan, Medical Officer in K West ward (Andheri West and Vile Parle West) said two factors have led to spurt of patients in private hospitals. In the last 10 days, Covid-19 cases have increased and most have been reported from non-slums, where patients prefer private hospitals. “Our hospital has two VIP wards and both have a wait list. The BMC tries to counsel but very few patients who can afford it want to get admitted in civic-body run jumbo Covid centres,” Khan said.
K West is recording 90 to 100 new cases daily, up from 50 until 10 days ago.
With Kurla witnessing a demand for private hospitals, the local ward office has sent a proposal to the BMC to allow a private 65-bed nursing home to restart Covid-19 treatment. Among the 72 nursing homes that BMC decided to pull off from Covid-19 treatment list, three were from in L ward, covering Kurla.
“We need another private nursing home in L ward, as patients want to get treated in private facility,” said Medical Officer of K ward, Dr Jeetendra Jadhav.
In S L Raheja hospital, all single rooms are occupied and always in demand.
“The number of people seeking admission has definitely increased. There is still space in the normal ward, but patients want a single room,” said Medical Director Dr Hiren Ambegaonkar.
In Lilavati hospital, there were over 10 patients on the wait list on Friday. “Even our eight-bed triage area is full,” said Chief Operating Officer Dr V Ravishankar.
He added that patients referred from nursing homes that have stopped treating Covid-19 are coming to the hospital.
In August, BMC had decided to reconvert nursing homes that have less than 50 beds into non-Covid centres. The decision was made because monsoons-related ailments are on rise and Covid-19 treatment management was found to be poor in small nursing homes.
In Kurla, Jadhav agreed that people have less confidence in jumbo facilities “as they have not seen them”. Until September 3, of the 5,865 beds in jumbo centres across the city, 3,748 were empty.
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