300 doctors to be redeployed to Chennai for COVID-19 duty

4,600 beds to be available at housing board flats at Athipet

Published - March 20, 2021 03:41 am IST - CHENNAI

Image for representation purpose only.

Image for representation purpose only.

The steady rise in the number of fresh COVID-19 infections has led to the Health department stepping up its response with regard to infrastructure and manpower. While COVID-19 Care Centres (CCC) are being readied in Chennai and many other districts, the department is all set to redeploy manpower from less-affected districts to Chennai.

Like last year, when doctors from a number of districts were deployed to Chennai to manage the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Health Department may post doctors from districts where there are fewer COVID-19 cases or where the situation is under control to the city.

“We are deputing 300 doctors working under the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services to the Directorate of Medical Education in Chennai as there is a slight rise in cases,” R. Narayana Babu, Director of Medical Education, said.

Already, 625 doctors, 325 laboratory technicians and 1,250 multipurpose health workers recruited last year for COVID-19 work have been given an extension till May.

“We have doctors who have completed their postgraduation. There are 550 non-service PGs engaged in COVID-19 work now. We are extending the Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship period that ends in March for two months (April and May) for COVID-19 work,” he added.

Care centres

The Tamil Nadu Housing Board’s flats in Athipet are being converted into COVID-19 care centres. Along with this 4,600 bed facility, another care centre with 300 beds will be available at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Egmore.

Similar facilities are being created in districts too. With the buildings of educational institutions released from COVID-19 requirement, officials have turned to other facilities. “In districts, there are facilities other than educational institutions, such as new buildings of the housing board or slum clearance board, hospital buildings constructed recently for a speciality but yet to be activated and bigger trade complexes. Decentralised decisions will be taken as beds and mattresses are already in position,” Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said.

COVID-19 hospitals and COVID-19 health centres have been augmented with additional oxygen facilities, he added.

Dr. Narayana Babu said in the first phase, four blocks — each consisting of 1,150 beds — were being readied at Athipet CCC while two other blocks were kept on reserve. “Each of four government medical college hospitals in Chennai will be allotted a block at Athipet. We will be posting 150 doctors. At present, we have adequate facilities in medical college hospitals. Patients will be moved to the CCCs if there is a spillover,” Dr. Babu said.

Instead of having several care centres, everything will be concentrated in a single place now, he said. “When compared to July and August last year, we are experiencing a slight increase in cases. However, we are fully prepared with required infrastructure,” Dr. Babu added.

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