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Pan-India-survey: ‘Only 4% Covid patients who needed ICU bed able to get it through routine process’

LocalCircles, a community social media platform that enables people and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions, decided to conduct a survey to get the pulse on the issue, and received over 17,000 responses from over 211 districts across India

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | September 21, 2020 4:34:22 am
covid-19 in india, covid hospital beds, covid icu beds, covid icu bed shortage, covid icu bed unavailability, covid icu beds in india, indian express newsCritical care infrastructure is being boosted in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur, with creation of temporary hospitals in these districts. (Representational)

With RISING critical cases, the availability of ICU beds has drastically reduced and a new pan-India survey shows that only 4 per cent Covid-19 patients, who needed an ICU bed, were able to get it through routine process, while 78 per cent had to use connections and clout. At least 92 per cent said it should be made mandatory for all hospitals to list real-time ICU bed availability on their websites and entrances. In Pune, at least 32 per cent had to use connections and clout while 5 per cent got it through the routine process.

After receiving many complaints from across the country against not being able to find an ICU bed at a government or private hospital, LocalCircles, a community social media platform that enables people and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions, decided to conduct a survey to get the pulse on the issue, and received over 17,000 responses from over 211 districts across India, founder of LocalCircles Sachin Taparia told The Indian Express.

In the first question, LocalCircles asked about experiences in social network with regard to getting a Covid ICU bed. To ensure that the right feedback is sought, people were requested to make calls to their contacts in case they were unaware about the detailed experience of their contact getting an ICU bed.

In response, 55 per cent said they did not have any person in their network needing a Covid ICU bed. These respondents were taken out of the sample. When this sample was analysed, 38 per cent respondents said they had to use clout/connections to secure the ICU bed while 7 per cent said they had to follow up extensively to secure the ICU bed; 40 per cent said they had to use their clout/connections, follow up extensively and they also had to escalate via social media or complain to the government to secure the ICU bed; 7 per cent said they had to bribe (cash or kind) hospital/government officials to secure the ICU bed, while only 4 per cent said they got the ICU bed without any of the above. Another 4 per cent said they did not get an ICU bed at all.

This shows that only 4 per cent of those who needed a an ICU bed were able to get it through the routine process. In Delhi, for instance, patients complained that the Delhi government’s app ‘Delhi Corona’ shows ICU beds available in some hospitals; however, when they call that hospital, they are told that the bed is not available, Taparia said.

In the next question, people were asked, given the ICU beds shortage for Covid-19, should it be made mandatory for all hospitals to list on their websites and entrances the real-time ICU bed availability. A whopping 92 per cent responded in its favour.

There were 1,157 responses from Pune, founder of LocalCircles Sachin Taparia told The Indian Express. For the question on experience with getting ICU beds for Covid patients, they got 653 responses . At least 32 per cent had to use connections and clout to get a bed while 5 per cent got it through the routine process, Taparia said.

“For the second question, we got 504 responses and 88 per cent said hospitals should mandatorily display real-time ICU bed availability on websites,” Taparia added.

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