At least 300 hospitals contest department’s claim that they are ‘temporarily closed’

While the health authorities have listed 982 clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals in Bengaluru as “temporarily closed” during the pandemic, at least 300 of them have contested it and said they are functioning as usual.

Some of the clinic owners told The Hindu that they were running their establishments after taking necessary precautions and are baffled as to why they figure in the list published by the Bengaluru Urban District Health Officer (DHO).

G.A. Srinivas, DHO, Bengaluru Urban, said of the 6,979 registered clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes in Bengaluru, as many as 1,595 establishments were “permanently closed” in the last two to three years. In addition, they have published a list of 982 establishments that are “temporary closed” during the pandemic. Mr. Srinivas, however, acknowledged that they had received representations from about 300 of these establishments stating they were open.

“The Bescom and BWSSB authorities were vested with the responsibility of conducting a survey of the establishments that were closed. The authorities may have visited at a time when they were closed. Many of the owners have submitted a representation that they are open and sought removal of their names from the list,” he said.

An office-bearer of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association said they had brought to the notice of the department that many of these establishments were classified as closed even though they had been sending daily reports of patients details who had influenza-like illnesses, severe acute respiratory Infection or were suspected to have COVID-19.

However, many private clinics and nursing homes in the city are closed down owing to multiple reasons. Some of them are facing shortage of staff. In many instances, doctors running clinics have decided to remain closed during the pandemic as they do not want to risk getting infected.

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Risk and financial factors

“If I open my clinic, I will get patients who have fever, cough, cold, and other COVID-19 symptoms. I cannot afford the necessary infrastructure such as PPEs or face shields, so I have decided to do teleconsultation for my regular patients. If they have COVID-19-like symptoms, I tell them to visit the fever clinic close to their home,” said a general practitioner whose clinic is located in north Bengaluru. Establishments closed include dental, skin and eye clinics, maternity homes as well as standalone private clinics.

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Sagar Biswas

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