The Bihar government has expressed its anger over private hospitals “completely withdrawing” from the fight against the COVID-19. The state government has asked all private hospitals and clinics to take up usual services so that government hospitals are not overburdened. The government also offered a cost-sharing plan for private hospitals if they took up COVID-19 cases but private hospitals in the state are yet to come forward.
An order issued on Monday by the Principal Secretary of Bihar’s Health Department stated, “All heads/in-charges/ managers of the private sector (including trust and charitable institutions (hospitals)/ nursing homes/ clinics/ pharmacy, diagnostic centres are directed to resume their services.”
While there were no specific instructions for private hospitals to treat coronavirus cases, hospitals willing to do so were asked to maintain screening and travel history of COVID patients.
However, private hospitals have said they are not taking coronavirus cases since they do not want to put their non-COVID patients at risk. Most private hospitals either remain shut or function partially during lockdown. The cumulative bed capacity in the private health sector is about 80,000 beds.
Bihar Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar earlier tweeted, “#BiharFightsCorona the almost complete withdrawal of private health sector in the state is palpable and thought provoking.private sector has 48k beds as compared to 22k in public and does almost 90 % of all opd’s.forget covid-19,even regular services have become unavailable.”
“We cannot force them. But what hurts is their complete disinterest and withdrawal in times of Corona crisis… We do not expect them to take risks but to come forward and discuss how they could help,” he said.
“We are not taking COVID patients because we have to take care of other patients,” said Dr Asif Rahman, Medical Superintendent of Paras HMRI Hospital. Another functionary of a private hospital said stakeholders should sit together to work out a plan.
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