Recently, Delhi government ordered private hospitals with 50 or more beds to reserve 80% of their ICU beds for Covid-19 patients. Many hospitals are protesting the move, stating that it is not financially viable and that the move will add to the woes of non-Covid patients who are already struggling to get ICU beds for critical illnesses like cancer and heart failure.
According to Dr D S Rana, chairman (board of management) of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), it is difficult to create a dedicated isolation section for Covid-19 patients in its existing 60-bedded ICU facility.
“We have created a separate Covid-ICU with 116 beds by various modifications at a significant cost on the advice of the health minister of Delhi. We are planning to enhance the capacity further to 150 beds. However, for that we may need more ventilators and monitors. We have requested the government to provide the same,” Dr Rana said.
Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said the private healthcare sector was committed to supporting the governments’ national and state initiatives in the fight against the pandemic.
“Despite consistent losses, the sector has invested significantly to upgrade the healthcare infrastructure. Lockdown restrictions and fear of contracting infection have resulted in lower footfall at the hospitals and postponement of pre-scheduled surgeries. Our healthcare system is facing serious challenges related to skilled manpower and our frontline workers are going beyond their call of duty to serve the nation,” Dr Raghuvanshi said.
Reserving beds, he added, is not a long-term solution as it will jeopardise the operational sustainability of private hospitals. A collaborative and consultative approach, enabling the private healthcare institutions to function optimally, is required, he pointed out.
The authorities at another top private hospital claimed the order would lead to delay in surgeries for non-Covid complications “since most of these require some post-surgical stay in ICUs. Effectively all hospitals will need to shut down their OTs”. The government must reconsider the order, he added.