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Amid Omicron threat, PMC to extend contract of private body that runs Covid hospital in Baner

🔴 The Pune Municipal Corporation has also decided to award new contracts to healthcare personnel to avoid staff shortage.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
Updated: December 23, 2021 7:46:03 am
Pune, CovidThe tenure of the medical staff appointed in July last year has been extended thrice till now. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

Amid increasing number of cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in India, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to extend by three months its contract with the agency running the dedicated Covid hospital (DCH) of the civic body in Baner. It has also decided to extend its contract with medical staff to overcome the shortage of staff in the civic health department.

The PMC had started a dedicated Covid hospital in Baner at the beginning of the pandemic last year. It appointed a private agency, Dr Bhise Multispeciality hospital, to operate the civic hospital, but the contract with the hospital expired on December 8 this year.

“The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been detected in South Africa. Its outbreak cannot be ruled out in the country. The state government has issued an alert on it and it will be necessary to keep the dedicated Covid hospital running,” said Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar, adding that it would be appropriate to continue operations of the dedicated civic hospital through the private agency presently in control of affairs.

The PMC has also kept intact the infrastructure set up for the jumbo Covid hospital in Shivajinagar. A private agency is in charge of the civil and electrical infrastructure for the jumbo hospital while another agency has been appointed for maintenance of health equipment. As per the instructions of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, the PMC has retained the services of private agencies to run the jumbo hospital till December end, and is likely to extend it further, considering a possible third wave.

Another dedicated Covid hospital has been built in Baner but it will be made operational only when there is a need for it. The PMC presently treats Omicron patients in Naidu Hospital and has prepared other civic hospitals for admission of Covid patients.

The PMC’s own health department is also facing shortage of staff, with more than 50 per cent of the approved posts vacant. The PMC had appointed 213 health professionals on contract basis last year, and then extended their contracts as the pandemic continued.

The civic body has also decided to extend the tenure of contractual medical staff by three months to handle a possible third wave of Covid-19 and continue the effective implementation of vaccination drive. “As many as 199 of the 213 health staff appointed on contract have continued to provide service to PMC. They include two physicians, one ICU physician, one MBBS medical officer, 81 BAMS medical officer, 21 BHMS medical officer, 57 staff nurses, 22 laboratory technicians and 14 assistant laboratory technicians. Their service is being extended for three more months,” said Kumar.

In fact, the tenure of medical staff appointed last year was extended three times in the past after their first appointment in July 2020.

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