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The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), on March 29, had issued letters to the city private hospitals where they urged them to keep at least 80 per cent of their operational beds reserved for the Covid patients, given the rapid rise in cases nationwide. The state of Maharashtra is now back to its worst state with a sharp spike in cases after it had contained the virus spread to an extend in early 2020.
However, the process of keeping more beds prepared is likely to get delayed as city hospitals claim they have existing non-COVID patients who cannot be asked to vacate immediately. In addition, the shortage of staff is acting as another hurdle in increasing these beds.
Bomi Bhote, chief executive officer (CEO) of Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, made it clear that while all hospitals are ready to cooperate with PMC, however, they are facing common problems. “What do we do with existing non-COVID patients? They also have right to treatment. Further, designating these beds will not be of use if we do not have enough doctors and other medical staff. And in that case, who will look after the patients? Now, adding to the issues, public transport will stop, due to which many nurses and cleaners will have major issues coming to work," he said as per a report in Pune Mirror.
On the other hand, Dr HK Sale -- executive director of Noble Hospital -- stated, “We are giving priority to the crisis and helping the administration during the pandemic in whatever way we can. But we are also facing staff shortage, especially specialised and dedicated staff for COVID management. PMC doesn’t understand and simply forces us to increase beds. They should give us payments on time at least, since we have to pay our vendors and staff, who are also human beings risking their lives to save others.”
Nonetheless, the PMC assistant health chief Dr Sanjeev Wavare has remained firm on the demand, as cases are on a rapid rise amid a shortage of services and beds. "We are helpless, too. Our current priority is to make sure every patient gets treatment. No one should be deprived of treatment. Hospitals can for now use their remaining 20 per cent beds for emergency and critical non-COVID patients. When there was fall in COVID cases last year, it was PMC only that gave permission to private hospitals to increase beds for non-COVID patients once more,” he pointed out.