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No dearth of beds, some Delhi hospitals indulging in ‘black marketing’, says Kejriwal, warns of action

Several people have complained over social media that they were made to run from one hospital to another and refused admission or testing, despite showing symptoms.

SNS | New Delhi |

Amid reports of Coronavirus patients being turned away at private hospitals, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a strict warning on Saturday said that “those indulging in black marketing of beds using the influence of other political parties will not be spared”.

“Some hospitals are denying admission to COVID-19 patients. I am warning those who think they will be able to do black-marketing of beds using the influence of their protectors from other parties, you will not be spared,” the chief minister said at press briefing on the Coronavirus situation in the national capital.

He said the government had launched the ‘Delhi Corona’ app to stop black marketing of beds. “We thought of making the information about number of beds and ventilators in hospitals transparent. But now, there is an uproar over it as if we committed a crime,” Kejriwal said.

Delhi Congress has alleged that the “Delhi Corona” app is a betrayal and hospitals are not admitting patients despite it showing availability of beds.

Addressing the media via video link, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Anil Kumar said the “Delhi Corona” app had turned out to be a non-starter as despite availability of beds in hospitals, earmarked exclusively for COVID-19 patients, they were not admitting coronavirus cases.

Kejriwal further requested for a few more days to investigate the matter.

“Please allow a few days for us to sort this out. We will investigate and take action against those who are refusing patients even when beds are available,” the chief minister said.

Several people have complained over social media that they were made to run from one hospital to another and refused admission or testing, despite showing symptoms.

However, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today clarified that at present, there is no dearth of beds.

Against 8,645 total available beds, 4038 are occupied and 4607 are vacant, he detailed and added, “These are real beds, not mere figures.”

“As of today, sufficient beds are available. But some of them refuse admission. We won’t permit their mischief. Give us a few days. We are at it,” he said.

He further termed rumours of testing being stopped in Delhi as baseless, adding that Delhi has conducted the most number of tests. He said 36 government and private labs are carrying out tests.

He added that the government will deploy medical professionals at each private hospital to keep tab on available beds for COVID-19 patients.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain earlier on Friday said the issue was that some hospitals are “not updating” the data on the Delhi government’s coronavirus tracking application on time or “misrepresenting actual data” when patients call.

Meanwhile, a Delhi government order cited health ministry guidelines to reiterate that asymptomatic and mild symptom patients don’t need hospitalisation and can be quarantine at home. A mild or asymptomatic person has to be discharged by the hospital within 24 hours of admission, it stated.

On Friday, the government had also issued a list of 56 private hospitals with 50 or more beds and asked them to reserve 20 per cent beds for the patients of Economically Weaker Section (EWS).

The order listed all the hospitals which were allotted land at concessional rates by land owning agencies and are under an obligation to provide 10 per cent IPD and 25 per cent of total OPD free of charge to eligible patients from the EWS category, to reserve beds for EWS patients with coronavirus infection.

This came after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday reminded all private hospitals of Delhi to reserve 20 per cent beds for patients undergoing coronavirus treatment, saying if they do not agree to this, they will be converted into fully Covid dedicated hospitals.

Also, the AAP government on Thursday issued a new standard operating procedure on handling Coronavirus positive patients.

As per the new guideline, all hospitals have been directed to shift the patient from the vehicle to the triage area in 15 minutes without asking for details.

Doctors on triage duty are to attend to the patient within an hour depending upon urgency of requirement of treatment. Food and water should be available in the waiting area as well, the SOP stated.

For admission of the patient, it said the patient shall be admitted in appropriate ward for the level of treatment required at the hospital as per the medical condition assessed by doctors.

If beds are not available at the hospital, then it will be entirely the responsibility of the hospital to transfer the patient to another one and till then the hospital will have to provide medical care to the patient.

The new guidelines came on a day when a elderly man died and the family alleged he was denied entry by the hospital. However, the hospital has refused all such claims saying that the man was brought dead.

Delhi recorded 1,330 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the COVID-19 tally in the city beyond the 26,000-mark, and the number of deaths due to the disease jumped to 708.