As Covid cases slow down across Maharashtra, private hospitals are facing a surge of non-Covid admissions resulting in shortage of normal beds. The State Covid Task Force has advised the government to allow hospitals to increase non-Covid beds to cater to other ailments.
“We have made an appeal that non-Covid beds need to increase proportionately. The 80:20 ratio where the government reserved 80 per cent of beds is not justified anymore,” said Dr Sanjay Oak, chairman of the state task force. Oak added that they are advising a 60:40 ratio in private hospitals with a caveat that if a second Covid-19 wave emerges hospitals will be expected to revert back to 80:20 ratio.
In August the state government renewed its notification reserving 80 per cent beds in private hospitals and capping charges for them. Hospitals were allowed to charge its normal rates in remaining 20 per cent beds and admit non-Covid patients there.
With less than 1,000 fresh cases since the last five days in Mumbai, hospitals are finding more vacant beds in isolation facilities. In SL Raheja hospital, for example, 130 of 154 beds are reserved for Covid patients but only 55 patients are occupying those beds. The remaining 24 beds for non-Covid patients are running full. “In May we agreed to provide 130 isolation beds. The government has not allowed us to reduce that number. There are a lot of empty beds that we can’t use for non-Covid patients who seek admission,” said medical director Dr Hiren Ambegaonkar.
In Bombay hospital too the number of non-Covid admissions are increasing against a consistent drop in Covid admissions. “Our non-Covid facility is running full,” said consultant Dr Gautam Bhansali.
In Bhatia hospital, of 120 beds currently 65 are reserved for Covid and remaining for non-Covid. Medical director Dr R B Dastur said the non-Covid section is running full and there are vacant beds in Covid section.
As the pandemic enters its ninth month, people have now started opting for elective procedures that they had put on hold for months. Infertility treatment is slowly gaining pace. Hospitals are getting diabetic foot cases, kidney stone patients, orthopaedic and spinal surgery procedures, hernia and cardiac patients. Certain procedures like hip and knee replacement and cosmetic surgeries continue to remain on hold with patients wary of infection.
On Thursday Health Minister Rajesh Tope indicated that in areas where Covid cases have declined, relaxation may be given to private hospitals to reduce isolation beds. The latest notification on the 80:20 reservation will last until November 30. A state health official, however, warned that with a second wave prediction, a sudden relaxation to hospitals will not be feasible.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines