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AAP alleges ventilator beds in Pune and Pimpri available only for wealthy and influential, civic officials deny allegation

The AAP said it has been unable to provide even one ventilator bed to those who called up on its helpline in the last seven days.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
May 3, 2021 8:37:52 pm
Covid-19Relatives comfort each other outside Jumbo Covid Hospital at Shivajinagar on Monday. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

Even as allegations have surfaced that some doctors at a PCMC-run hospital took money for providing a ventilator bed to a Covid-19 patient, the Aam Aadmi Party has alleged that in both PMC and PCMC areas, “ventilator beds are available only for rich and influential people with political connections and these beds are out of bounds for the common man.”

The AAP has also alleged that there was no centralised system for allotting ventilator beds in both Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Civic officials have, however, denied the allegations.

The AAP said it has been unable to provide even one ventilator bed to those who called up on its helpline in the last seven days. “We tried to pass on the requests to the PMC helpline number from distressed citizens who called for ventilator beds for their family members. However, in a week, PMC helpline number failed to provide even one ventilator bed out of the 750 ventilator beds to those whose request we passed on to them,” said Mukund Kirdat, AAP’s Pune unit chief.

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Kirdat said in the last few days, AAP volunteers, using information from the PMC helpline and the dashboard, have been trying to find ventilator beds for patients. “We failed to find even one bed for the citizens. In this connection, we met PMC health officials who told us that they were not getting the latest update from big hospitals and therefore the dashboard was not updated,” Kirdat said.

“When we inspected the system closely, we found that patients were directly given admission in private hospitals and Covid Care Centres and not through helpline numbers. The private hospitals have their own waiting list. They are making direct admissions and refusing admission to patients recommended by the PMC helpline. We found that rich families, politicians, people with strong political connections, doctors and their close friends and relatives were grabbing the ventilator beds,” he said.

Kirdat said AAP is also running a helpline number in Mumbai where they are able to get a ventilator beds. “In Mumbai, all ventilator beds are filled only through the helpline number set up by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation,” he said.

Kirdat said in both PMC and PCMC, there was no centralised system of admitting patients. “In Pimpri-Chinchwad, what happened in Auto Cluster is a prime example of how beds are filled up… the rot runs deep…,” he alleged.

Both PMC and PCMC officials denied the AAP’s allegations. “When we get a call on the helpline number, our officials get in touch with the concerned hospital where the ventilator bed is available. We ask the patient’s relatives to fill up a form and the patient is asked to go to the concerned hospital. Our staff then cross-checks whether the patient has got admission in that particular hospital or not,” said PMC health and medical chief Ashish Bharati, adding that ventilator beds are allocated through calls for help received on the PMC helpline.

PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy said, “Our helpline number gets nearly 200 calls every day for admissions, oxygen beds or ventilator beds. We suggest hospitals where oxygen or ventilator beds are available… every top official gets distress calls as well.”

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