Pune: Sinhgad Technical Education Society's Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College and Hospital has reportedly stopped collecting swab samples of suspected COVID-19 patients from the last two days. Although no official reason has been given for this, sources say that the hospital has taken this decision because of non-payment of dues from the Zilla Parishad (ZP). The ZP officials have refuted these claims.
Navale hospital's decision has caused major inconvenience to hundreds of citizens from the West Haveli region especially from Narhe, Nanded, Kirkatwadi, Khadakwasla and Khanapur villages. They have to travel to eastern parts of the taluka like Loni Kalbhor, Uruli Kanchan, Kunjirwadi, Kadamwak Vasti to get themselves tested for COVID-19 and wait for long hours at the testing centres.
The West Haveli region has seen a spike in COVID-19 positive cases in the recent past. The total number of cases is hovering near the 200 mark and around seven villages in this region have been declared as a containment zone, by the district administration. As the total number of cases rise, the number of critical and serious patients has also increased. There is a shortage of ICU, ventilator and oxygen beds in the hospitals located in this region.
In addition to this, citizens have to face more hardships to get themselves tested if they show any mild or severe symptom of COVID-19. Suspected patients have to arrange and wait for more than two hours for an ambulance to pick them up. When they reach the testing centres in the East Haveli region, they have to spend an entire day to get the tests done as there are long queues.
When contacted, District Health Officer Dr Bhagwan Pawar did not respond. Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer Ayush Prasad said, "We are reimbursing all expenses incurred by hospitals under the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana. The hospital bills are cleared every 15 days. The Zilla Parishad has not stopped any payment of any hospital. Only those patients having severe symptoms need to be admitted to Navale hospital. So only those patients who have undergone COVID tests somewhere else and need to be hospitalized will be admitted to Navale hospital."