A day after the Gujarat High Court came down heavily on the state government for trying to “artificially control” the Covid situation, Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister Nitin Patel on Sunday said that the government has been working continuously to deal with the pandemic and despite his age, he had personally gone to several hospitals to take stock of the situation.
While hearing a public interest litigation on Covid-related issues, a division bench of the high court had described Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, the biggest Covid-19 facility of the government, as worse than dungeon. The court even asked if the Health minister (Patel) and Chief Secretary (Anil Mukim) have any idea about the problems faced by patients and health staff.
Addressing media persons and citing media reports, Patel said he will present the government’s reply to the court through Advocate General and senior advocates. Citing media reports, he added, “I feel it necessary to clarify one thing if how many times did I as health minister visit Ahmedabad Civil Hospital (in last two months).”
“In last two months, I have visited Civil hospital five times. I have held three meetings with experienced and renowned private doctors and seniors of civil hospital, kidney hospital, heart hospital inside the civil hospital campus…Chief Principal Secretary to the CM K Kailashnathan, Additional Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar, who is holding special responsibility of Civil hospital, and Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi were also present in those meetings,” said Patel.
Quoting Patel, an official release said, “I will turn 65 on June 22. As per guidelines, it is risky for senior citizens to move out… In such a scenario, I have never avoided going out… As a health minister, I have been visiting hospitals, holding meetings with doctors and monitoring the situation in public interest.”
“For the past 55 days, the CM and all of us have been holding deliberations without taking any leave to deal with this challenge (Covid-19) while remaining concerned about the people of Gujarat,” he added.
The Deputy CM said that the Civil Hospital was a huge campus providing medical services not only to the people of Gujarat, but also to some people of neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. He said when thousands of people move around in the hospital in a day, coordination there was a big task.
Patel further that as per the rules and regulations, the state government could not take independent decisions in matters related to the treatment and testing procedure of Covid-19. He added that the state governments have to follow the guidelines issued by the ICMR and central government.
Listing out various steps taken by the state government like creating around 21,000 beds for the Covid-19 patients , procuring various equipment like PPE kits, Patel said that it was the result of the state government’s efforts after discussions with experts.
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