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Monday, May 10, 2021

In Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad, ventilator beds only for rich: AAP

The AAP has also accused the civic bodies for not having a centralised system for allocating ventilator beds. Civic officials have however denied the allegations.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
May 2, 2021 9:32:51 am
ICUAAP alleged that though the government has taken over 80 per cent of beds in private hospitals, people who have no political connections are finding it difficult to get ventilator beds for their family members. (File)

Amid shortage of beds for Covid-19 patients, the Aam Aadmi Party alleged that ventilator beds in PMC and PCMC areas were available “only for the rich and influential people,” leaving them out of bounds for the “common man.”

The AAP has also accused the civic bodies for not having a centralised system for allocating ventilator beds. Civic officials have however denied the allegations.

The comments come after allegations surfaced that some doctors at a PCMC-run hospital took money for providing ventilator bed to a covid-19 patient.

“We tried to pass on the request to the PMC helpline number from the distressed citizens who called for a ventilator bed for their family member. 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 Pune unit chief.

Kirdat said in the last few days, AAP volunteers using information on PMC helpline and on the dashboard have been trying to find ventilator beds for the patients. “However, we have 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.

Kirdat added they also tried to find out the problem from the War Room. “After talking to the staff, we found that they cannot provide ventilator beds to common people who call up because there are no beds available,” he said.

Kirdat said this raised the question as to for whom the health system working. “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 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, other AAP leaders like Dr Abhijit More and Vidyanand Nayak inspected the PMC War Room functioning and held meetings with PMC officials regarding ventilator beds.

AAP alleged that though the government has taken over 80 per cent of beds in private hospitals, people who have no political connections are finding it difficult to get ventilator beds for their family members.

Kirdat said AAP is also running a helpline number in Mumbai where they are able to get a ventilator bed. “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 is no centralised system of admitting patients like done in Mumbai. “In Pimpri-Chinchwad, what happened in Auto Cluster is a prime example how beds are filled up. At Auto Cluster, doctors allegedly demanded Rs one lakh and took the money for giving the patient a ventilator bed. This seems to be tip of the iceberg. The rot runs deep…,” he alleged.

Kirdat said only difference in Pune and Pimpri is that PCMC helpline staff respond but PMC staff does not respond to requests.

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Demanding setting up of control rooms at the level of zonal offices, the AAP said, “These control rooms should be set up at zonal office levels. They should be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring oxygen beds, ICU beds and ventilator beds to the patients. They should also ensure patients are not allowed to stay put in ICU when not required. This requires close monitoring,” the AAP said.

Both PMC and PCMC officials denied that common man were not getting ventilator beds. “When we get a call on helpline number, our officials get in touch with the concerned hospital where the ventilator bed is available. We get a form filled up from the patient’s relatives 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, the ventilator beds are filled up through the PMC helpline.

PCMC-run YCMH dean Dr Rajendra Wable said, “When patients land at YCMH hospital, depending on the severity of the symptoms, we decide on his admission. We might admit him at YCM hospital or will send him to other facilities like Auto Cluster of Jumbo hospital.”

PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy said, “Our helpline number gets nearly 200 calls every day for admissions, oxygen beds or ventilator beds. We recommend them hospitals where oxygen or ventilator beds are available. Not only helpline number, every top officials gets distress calls and we try to help them through our helpline number staff.”

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