As Covid cases jump, BBMP asks private hospitals to reserve 40% beds | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Since June, BBMP has sent 43,863 patients to private facilities. (AP file photo used for representational purpose only)
BENGALURU: With infections soaring in the tech capital, private hospitals have been directed to reserve 40 per cent of their beds for government-referred Covid-19 patients and be ready for a challenging phase.
During a virtual meeting on Saturday, officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) indicated that private hospitals should be prepared to treat more severe Covid-19 cases in the coming days.
Representatives of more than 80 private medical facilities attended the meeting, which was chaired by BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta. Creating adequate treatment capacity and increasing the vaccination coverage were the two main talking points.
Currently, there are 26,544 active cases in Bengaluru. More than 85 per cent are in home isolation.
Hospitalisation is advised for only people who have severe symptoms and comorbidities.
“Private hospitals have been asked to reserve up to 40 per cent of the beds for patients referred by BBMP under the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust. However, we have been told that a detailed government circular will follow,” said Dr HM Prasanna, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA). Currently, hospitals have kept 10 per cent of their beds for government-referred Covid-19 patients.
On June 23, 2020, when cases were high, officials had directed private hospitals to reserve 50 per cent of their beds.
After the infection rates fell, the requirement was relaxed in November 2020.
Since June, BBMP has sent 43,863 patients to private facilities.
In its reply to an RTI query in January this year, the civic body said that private facilities had been paid Rs 133.2 crore for treating 31,624 patients.
Some corporate hospitals have expressed concern about the latest directive.
“A year ago, treatment for conditions other than Covid-19 took a back seat and hence, we had beds dedicated for Covid care. It’s not the same now. Leaving 40 per cent of the beds for Covid care will lead to a further shortage of beds for other patients. It’s a tricky scenario,” said the chairperson of a leading hospital in Bengaluru.
The chairperson added that medical facilities were better prepared and experienced than before, but problems might arise if staff managed both Covid care and other treatments.
There is some relief for smaller facilities. “The BBMP commissioner has assured us that hospitals with fewer than 50 beds would not be asked to reserve beds for Covid patients at this stage,” Dr Prasanna said.
BBMP special commissioner (health) Rajendra Cholan P told STOI the requirement applied to hospitals with more than 100 beds. “Private hospitals must declare how many beds are already used for Covid-19 patients,” he said.
Expressing concern over the rising cases, he said a contingency plan was needed.
“We don’t know what is going to be the condition in the next one week. Currently, we have 1,200 beds in government hospitals and medical colleges. Private medical colleges in the city have 4,000 beds. Of these, nearly half can be reserved for Covid,” he added.