Pune: Here's why there is a shortage of hospital beds in the city

ST Correspondent
Thursday, 16 July 2020

The public and private healthcare system in the city is on the verge of collapse as the number of COVID-19 positive cases rise sharply.

Pune: A waiting list and long queue of patients outside hospitals to get admitted for receiving treatment… This scenario was earlier witnessed in Italy, then Mumbai and now it can be seen in the Pune city too. The public and private healthcare system in the city is on the verge of collapse as the number of COVID-19 positive cases rise sharply. Citizens are helpless and have only one question to ask the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration… "Where do we go to get treated for COVID-19?"

After the PMC increased the daily testing capacity in the city, COVID-19 cases have shot up considerably. Patients with comorbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure are also getting infected in large numbers by the novel coronavirus. Doctors are advising these patients to get admitted to hospitals for treatment, but in reality, there are no beds available to treat serious patients, who require oxygen or ventilator support or intensive care.

A senior doctor said, "I saw a queue of 12 to 15 patients on Wednesday night waiting for a bed to get vacant. The Intensive Care Units (ICU) are occupied, but what is worrying is that beds with oxygen support facilities are also not available now. Family members and relatives are seen running pillar to post enquiring with hospitals, but almost all hospitals are saying no to patients and relatives when asked about bed availability."

The present situation in Pune

* Hospitals have segregated operation and non-operation beds. Non-operation beds are kept for children, day care, dialysis, cancer patients and pregnant women. The operation beds have been reserved and taken control by the civic administration.

* A hospital with 500 beds capacity has shown only 150 beds as operation beds. Out of these declared beds, 80 per cent of beds are reserved by the administration.

* Beds reserved by administration are not solely for COVID-19 treatment. Other non-COVID patients can also use these beds, but the charges levied for treatment are regulated.

* There is no compulsion on hospitals to use the reserved beds for COVID-19 patients. Hence, some hospitals are using all the reserved beds for treating non-COVID patients.

Challenges before hospital management

* Even if beds are available, doctors are not available to treat them.

* Most of the doctors have disassociated with the hospitals after the COVID-19 outbreak started. Thus, hospitals are left with about 50 per cent of doctors and staff shortage.

* Some doctors have resigned from hospitals due to fear of COVID-19.

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