Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set up a helpline number for citizens with non-coronavirus issues during this pandemic. Non-Covid patients can now call 1916 (the helpline number) if they want to locate a hospital in the city where only nonCOVID patients are treated and need directions.
This comes after these patients have been turned away from both civic and private hospitals, because they are non-Covid cases. If necessary, civic authorities can also arrange ambulances for them.
One day after BYL Nair Hospital was converted to a dedicated Covid hospital, a 30-year-old chronic kidney patient was refused admission there. The patient and his relative were sent to JJ Hospital, from where they were sent to St George Hospital, which finally admitted him.
But by then, his condition had deteriorated, and he succumbed to his illness on April 20. Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said they had received several such complaints of nonCOVID patients being turned away from hospitals, causing them to miss their routine check-ups and treatment.
“After hearing all complaints, we decided to use the BMC helpline, to guide other patients to non-Covid hospitals. We have appointed medical officers who have a list of hospitals where only nonCOVID patients are being treated,” he said. There is a prescribed protocol for such patients.
They must first call 1916 and ask for information on the nearest non-Covid hospital. The medical officer attending the call will guide them accordingly.
“This has been started last week and every day, they get more than 30 calls on the helpline, with the same query: Where are the nonCOVID hospitals in the city?
If a patient requires an ambulance, we arrange for that too,” said an official. Health experts have welcomed this move, saying it was much needed, as more than 20 hospitals, both civic and private, have been sealed and some of them have been converted to Covid hospitals. “
Most patients have been skipping their routine check-ups, as they are scared of contracting coronavirus. This initiative will benefit these patients and help them find a hospital nearby, which treats non-Covid patients,”