Some private hospitals in the city are turning away patients referred by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), claiming all ICU beds are pre-occupied even though the civic body has found them to be vacant, Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said Saturday.
“Most private hospitals have signed an agreement with the PMC to reserve ICU beds for Covid-19 patients referred by the civic body, but in reality, they are turning patients away claiming all ICU beds are pre-occupied. However, the PMC has found that ICU beds are actually vacant,” Gaikwad said.
“The main reason for this seems to be cash flow. Private hospitals get money immediately if they admit patients on their own, but they have to wait for some time for the bills to be cleared by PMC if the patient is referred by the civic body,” he added.
Gaikwad said the pandemic has also exposed the civic body’s inefficiency in upgrading its hospitals. “For a population of 55 lakh, the PMC should have at least 1,300 ICU beds in civic hospitals but there were no beds. It is very dangerous,” he said.
He said Naidu hospital did not have a single ICU bed in its 100 years of existence. He said he has asked the state government to give 10 per cent of its budget to set up medical facilities for civic bodies, and only then will the PMC be able to upgrade its health facilities in the next 10 years.
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