After availing the free services of the private sector’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative for the management and control of beds for Covid-19 patients, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now decided to take the paid services of an agency to manage the same and ensure that beds are available for patients requiring hospitalisation for the treatment of the coronavirus infection.
The PMC had set up a dedicated bed management and control cell following complaints of the non-availability of beds for the treatment of Covid-19, when the pandemic was at its peak. The state government had urged the civic body to ensure no patient suffered due to the non-availability of beds.
Following many reported incidents, wherein critical patients were struggling to get beds in the hospitals. Thus, the civic body had to set up two jumbo hospitals in the city along with upgrading the existing civic hospitals to accommodate more patients. The PMC had also taken over a few beds in private hospitals to accommodate some Covid patients.
“The PMC was operating the bed management and control system with the help of the private sector under CSR. A cell was set up on the fourth floor of the civic body’s headquarters. Citizens needing beds were contacting the call centre of the cell, which was referring them to hospitals,” said Manisha Naik, assistant medical officer in PMC.
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However, the corporate providing the service has expressed inability to continue it further, she said, adding, “The PMC requires the bed management and control system active, considering the current pandemic situation and the need in coming months. We have decided to avail the services of an agency and pay it to help the PMC implement the bed management and control system for six months.”
The system is run under the guidance of the civic health department. The dedicated cell requires at least seven people around the clock to attend the calls of patients in distress and seeking beds for treatment. “The Covid-19 situation is well under control now. The number of new patients is less compared to that in its peak, but the dedicated cell still gets around 30 phone calls for admission of patients,” Naik said, with the cell asking patients about their bed requirements and if they want to avail the services of a government facility or the paid service in a private hospital. “The patient is referred to a hospital, depending on the request and availability of beds,” she added. The PMC declared dedicated Covid hospitals at the start of pandemic and reserved beds in these hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients.
The agency showing an interest in implementing the cell’s operations will have to come up with its own software and staff, while the civic body would provide them the place of work and other basic infrastructure.“If the PMC realises there is no need for a bed management service as per the situation, then it can discontinue it before the end of six-month term,” said Naik.
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