A positive ‘bedtime’ story

Mumbai: Finally, there could be some positive news for Mumbai on the pandemic front as far as ICU bed occupancy trend is concerned. In June, 108 ICU beds were empty which has now increased to 232 in July. However, most of the beds are empty in private hospitals vis-à-vis the ones in civic and state-run hospitals. The civic officials have attributed this to the decentralised system which they used for allowing beds to needy patients and early diagnosis of patients.

Currently, there are 1,762 ICU beds, of which 1,448 beds are occupied and 314 are vacant. The number of oxygen and ventilators beds have increased to 37 per cent and 29 per cent respectively. “In the last one month we have yielded good results as now 49 per cent of beds are vacant, of which 18 per cent are ICU beds. People are coming forward if they show any symptoms due to which they are being treated on time. There is reduction in serious patients,” said an official.

“There were many factors in the last three months due to which many patients were not getting ICU beds as most of the beds at the private hospitals were preoccupied by high-class people. But after decentralising the bed allotment and undertaking 80 per cent of beds at private hospitals has led to 18 per cent vacant ICU beds in the city. Now, beds are given to those who are in urgent need,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.

Earlier, lack of hospital beds and timely medical treatment in the city were the two biggest issues that led to several deaths. Then, private medical practitioners from the city, other districts and states came forward to help the BMC. Last month, the BMC changed its discharge policy by sending home patients who tested negative within five days of admission. It started to shift those with mild symptoms to Covid Care centres.

In May, the government reserved 80 per cent of the total beds in private hospitals for treatment of Covid patients with fixed charges. The BMC created jumbo Covid facilities in exhibition centres and open spaces to accommodate more patients. It has a live dashboard that reflects the availability of beds at all facilities and hospitals, including private. The civic body also created a control room in each of the 24 administrative wards to handle Covid cases for better bed management.

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Free Press Journal