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Ajit Pawar warns action over poor management of jumbo facilities

Talking tough: Ajit Pawar at a COVID-19 review meeting with Pune district officials on Friday.  

Irked by complaints of poor management of the newly set up jumbo COVID-19 facilities in Pune, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar rapped district administration officials and senior medical authorities on Friday. He said complaints of medical negligence and insensitive staff at these facilities would no longer be tolerated.

Mr. Pawar, who is also Pune’s Guardian Minister, was speaking at his weekly review meeting with senior officials of the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies. “If there is any lacuna in information on the availability of beds or medical negligence, then strict action will be taken,” he said, impressing on authorities on the urgent need to restore faith of the public in the credibility of these jumbo hospitals.

The 800-bed critical care jumbo facility, which opened at the College of Engineering Pune grounds a fortnight ago, has been in the eye of a storm, with over 40 deaths reported along with complaints of the insensitivity of the medical staff.

The death of 42-year-old television reporter, Pandurang Raikar, who was undergoing treatment at the facility, further brought the poor management of these centers into sharp focus.

According to sources, an upset Mr. Pawar came down heavily on top officials in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad for failing to get the situation under control and even hinted at transfers unless things started improving quickly.

The Deputy Chief Minister was reportedly disappointed with the Pune district administration’s efforts to check the spread of the virus, especially since civic authorities had managed to control it in a city like Mumbai.

“Both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations must move towards a centralised bed management system and update their records in the system so that information on beds in hospitals can be easily accessed by patients and citizens,” Mr. Pawar said.

‘Monitor oxygen supply’

With a view to ensure that there was no shortage in the availability of oxygen supply in hospitals, Mr. Pawar directed Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao to constitute a committee under Pune Zilla Parishad CEO Ayush Prasad to monitor the oxygen supply in hospitals across Pune division, which includes the districts of Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Solapur besides Pune.

The committee, which also includes representatives from the Food and Drug Administration and the industrial sector, has been tasked with coordinating with industrial firms to ensure round-the-clock availability of oxygen in hospitals.

“Senior officers in the committee must work in coordination so that no patient has to die owing to a lack of oxygen. The oxygen tanker should be equipped with an ambulance-like siren to save time during its transport. The police department should try and get these tankers out of possible traffic snarls,” he said.

As patients from all over Maharashtra are coming to Pune for treatment, it is imperative for the jumbo facilities to operate at full capacity, said Mr. Pawar.

Expressing alarm at the city’s rapidly soaring case positivity rate, Pune Mayor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murlidhar Mohol demanded that the number of RT-PCR tests be increased.

Increase testing: BJP

“While it is true that Pune is conducting the highest number of tests in the country, the bulk of RT-PCR tests, which are more effective in detecting the virus, are being done by private labs. Hence, the government must increase the rate of RT-PCR tests from its side as well. Furthermore, centralised bed management must begin in hospitals in Pune as it is done in Mumbai. I have been saying this time and again,” Mr. Mohol said.

Pune, Sangli and Kolhapur districts are emerging as the virus hotspots in western Maharashtra, with each district witnessing massive daily spikes of over 900 cases in the past few days.

On Thursday, Sangli recorded more than 1,000 new cases. The district’s death toll has exceeded 650. “We are in the throes of a full-blown medical crisis where critical patients are succumbing owing to the lack of oxygen. Despite industrial units supplying 20% of their oxygen to hospitals, a massive shortage prevails with a number of deaths due to oxygen depletion occurring in some private hospitals,” said Sangli-based lawyer and activist Amit Shinde. He urged immediate government intervention to resolve the problem of oxygen shortage.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 7:03:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/ajit-pawar-warns-action-over-poor-management-of-jumbo-facilities/article32585397.ece

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