The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) held a meeting with 40 private hospitals in the city on Monday, to ensure the availability of beds for Covid patients, given that the city is in the grip of a second wave of the coronavirus infection.
During the meeting, PMC officials asked the private hospitals to reserve at least 50 per cent of its bed capacity for Covid patients.
This will add another 1,600 beds to the Covid count, in terms of bed availability.
“The order from state to reserve 80 per cent beds for Covid patients and 20 per cent for non-Covid patients is still in place. As the number of Covid patients had declined in last few months we had relaxed this ratio. However, we held meeting with at least 40 private hospitals, in batches, and have asked them to reserve at least 50 per cent of their bed space for Covid patients. Otherwise, we will have to issue an order,” said Rubal Agarwal, additional municipal commissioner, PMC.
Some hospitals have expressed a difficulty in increasing the number of beds for Covid patients, citing an increasing number of non-Covid patients.
Abrarali Dalal, chief operating officer , Sahyadri Hospitals, said, “Considering the increasing number of Covid patients we are trying to increase beds across our units. However, on the other hand number of non-Covid patients is also intact and we have to give them required timely treatment and facilities. Therefore, it is going to be a challenge to keep a balance between both.”
There are 23,000 active Covid patients in Pune, of which, 2,300 are in hospitals. Only 10 per cent of the patients are hospitalised. We have compared it to last year’s peak, when the hospitalisation rate was 18-20%,” said Vikram Kumar, PMC commissioner.
“We are starting the Jumbo centres with the intention of keeping a backup ready. If required, the Jumbo facility can operate 800 beds. Last year, there were 3,500 beds available in private hospitals for Covid patients. We can still increase the bed capacity. We are monitoring the situation every day,” Kumar added.
The COEP Jumbo centre has been operational from Monday, with 55 beds. Rubal Agarwal claimed that the bed capacity will be increased to 500 by Friday.
Rajendra Muthe, head, PMC estate department, said the number of Covid care centres for isolation has been increased in the city.
“We have started Covid care centres in Rakshaknagar, Shivajinagar, Balewadi, and Gangadham. Soon we will start a centre at the Agriculture College (400 beds); Babasaheb Ambedkar Hostel, Yerwada (300 beds); and the Marathwada Mitra Mandal College (250 beds). Currently, we are giving preferences to PMC and government infrastructure when starting Covid care centres,” Muthe said.
MoU to ensure free treatment for the poor
The PMC has also signed a memorandum of understandings (MoU) with two more private hospitals on Monday, for the treatment of Covid patients from the lower economic strata. As per the MoU, this treatment will be free under various health schemes.
PMC has signed the MoU with Symbiosis (Lavale) and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hospital in Cantonment. PMC already has an MoU with the Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital and the Poona hospital. HT