In a major development on Friday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal issued new guidelines, saying patients tested positive for Covid-19 would be allotted beds in hospitals only after a medical check-up. The civic body has decided to have 10 ambulances each stationed in every ward, which will visit the patient’s residence after being contacted by the ward war rooms.
The new guidelines will come into effect from Sunday, April 25, and patients will be allotted beds only according to their medical condition, said BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.
The city has been reeling under a bed shortage crisis despite there being a rapid increase in the number of beds. As of February 11, 2021, the total bed capacity for Covid patients in the city was 12,925. Of this, 1,707 were ICU beds, 6,869 oxygen beds and 1,033 were beds with ventilators.
However, as of April 23, the total bed capacity in the city was increased to 29,764 – 2,850 ICU beds, 10,981 oxygen beds and 1,441 ventilator beds. But this augmentation of beds is still not enough to keep up with the high demand so far. As per data shared by the civic body, of the total bed capacity of 29,764, 22,113 beds are already occupied and only 7,651 beds were vacant/available. Only 42 of the total 2,850 ICU beds, 20 of the total 1,441 ventilator beds and 916 of the total 10,981 oxygen beds were available.
A patient exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 will be first examined by the health staff/volunteers at their residence before a decision is taken on the category of hospital or type of bed he or she will be referred to. The strategy is part of the new decision/guidelines issued by the Mumbai civic body on Friday.
Last year itself, the civic body had decided that Covid-19 positive reports would now be directly handed to ward war rooms, where doctors will communicate the news to the patient and also gauge the symptoms before allowing them to procure beds.
Those who are asymptomatic are put under home isolation as per the old protocol. But for those who are symptomatic or severely symptomatic, an ambulance with health staff will be sent to their homes for conducting a medical examination before allotting a bed.
Elucidating the role of the health staff working in the 10 ambulances to be stationed across all wards, Chahal said they would check the patient and gauge the seriousness of the case.
“In the last few days, there have been complaints about Covid patients not getting beds. We have so far tried to resolve all such complaints promptly. The process of allotting beds has been considerably improved and is more systematic. However, ito improve it further and prevent any inconvenience to patients, we have come up with this strategy,” said Chahal.
“The best part about this exercise is the medical examination of the patients will be done by visiting their residence and will be coordinated by the ward-level war rooms. After the examination, the visiting staff will communicate the person’s health condition to the ward war room doctors, who will decide whether the person needs an ICU or oxygen bed.”
In case a patient does not get the bed recommended by the examining team, the person will be put on the waiting list and a bed will be made available within a few hours, the circular stated.