Karnataka yet to get as many beds as promised by private hospitals: Minister

Urging private hospitals to cooperate with the State government in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, Medical Education Minster K. Sudhakar on Sunday said the government was yet to receive the full number of beds it had asked from private hospitals in Bengaluru for COVID-19 treatment. He also said that criminal cases would be registered against private hospitals refusing treatment to patients.

Of the 2,734 beds that had been sought from private hospitals, only 116 have been provided so far even though the hospitals had assured the government that they would give the beds immediately, the Minister said. “As per information available with us, 898 COVID-19 positive patients have gone to private hospitals directly. They [hospitals] have to hand over beds to the government as per the agreement,” he said.

“This is a bottleneck and will be addressed soon by Revenue Minister R. Ashok and the Chief Minister’s Political Secretary S.R. Vishwanath, who have been given charge of this,” Dr. Sudhakar told presspersons after visiting Jayanagar General Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Chest Hospital.

He, however, said there was no need to panic as a sufficient number of beds were still available in Bengaluru. Of the 819 beds at COVID Care Centres and three Government Medical Colleges, 152 were still available, while of the 1,899 beds in 11 private medical colleges in the city, 779 were available. Of the 611 beds in government hospitals, 105 were still available. “Confusion over bed allocation will be sorted out in a day or two,” he said.

The Minister also said that 400 ambulances — two in each ward — would be deployed in Bengaluru. He said the government-recommended patients at private hospitals would be provided with insurance under the Suvarna Arogya Surakasha Trust, while those who get admitted in private hospitals voluntarily would have to bear the cost as per the rates fixed by the government.

Stating that Bengaluru had the lowest mortality rate, at 1.46%, when compared to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, he said, “Once we increase testing, it is natural that the positive cases will also increase. The aim is to increase testing by optimal utilisation of capacity, especially in private labs.”

The State is looking to increase the number of tests for COVID-19 to 30,000 a day through 80 approved labs. Dr. Sudhakar said that there was pressure on some laboratories, and a system was being evolved to hand over test results in 24 hours. “The approved laboratories have to do the testing, otherwise action will be initiated against them,” he said.

Complain on helpline

Minister Sudhakar has said that if patients encounter any difficulty in getting admission to a private hospital, they may call the 24x7 helpline 1912 to lodge a complaint.

Protecting senior citizens

To protect senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, the State is likely to introduce a law, according to Dr. Sudhakar. “The responsibility of protecting senior citizens is on all of us, especially the young. We are contemplating bringing about a law that will prohibit the movement of such citizens outside their house,” he said, adding that instructions have been given to the task force to subject those above 60 and reporting fever or other serious illnesses to COVID-19 test.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:59:43 PM |

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