BBMP pushes for integrated booking system

Priya S. (name changed), a resident of Banaswadi, recalled the helplessness of trying to find an ICU bed for her husband whose oxygen saturation levels were dropping at alarming levels due to COVID-19.

As they rode in the ambulance knocking on the doors of hospitals, her husband’s oxygen saturation levels dropped to 54. “I did call the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) helpline and there were no ICU beds available in the government quota. So, I took him in an ambulance and went searching for a bed. The ordeal lasted three hours,” she said.

With the clamour for hospital beds only increasing by the day, the BBMP is pushing for a common platform and booking system to be put in place that will allow people to monitor and book beds in the private quota as well.

This will bring more transparency to a system that citizens allege is opaque. Such a system already exists for beds available under government quota. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, BBMP’s Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said, “A common booking system may help COVID-19 patients and prevent them from going to multiple hospitals in search of beds. This has been discussed in high-level meetings with the State government.”

However, BBMP sources said there was some resistance from private hospitals in putting such a system in place.

However, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA) president Prasanna H.M. said the bed management system for private quota was in the process of being readied. “We wanted to have this in place last year itself. But dropped the idea after the number of cases came down. We will now have a dry run of the system on Friday and launch it soon,” he said.

An integration of the existing system and a platform for private quota beds is the need of the hour, said officials. It is a system that may ease the trauma of finding a bed for their loved ones.

Software engineer Shubha Rao called over 30 private hospitals after her colleague’s father-in-law tested positive with low oxygen saturation and was in need of an ICU bed.

“We finally got a bed in a small hospital that I didn’t even know existed. Most people turn to big hospitals. There is a need for a centralised database of beds available under the government and private quota that is updated in real time,” she said.

The BBMP is coordinating with various private hospitals towards making a total of 11,000 beds available over the next two to three days. The State government too has directed all private hospitals and medical colleges to hand over 80% of beds in their facilities to the government.

Mr. Gupta acknowledged the limited number of ICU beds in the city. The 600 ICU beds that had been handed over had already been allotted under the BBMP’s hospital bed management system.

“As and when there is an availability, ICU beds are being allotted. Towards increasing the number of ICU beds, we have held discussions with private medical colleges and private hospitals. The total may increase by another 200,” he stated.

At the government level, initiative is being taken to establish ICU temporary hospitals. “If this is done, an additional 1,000 ICU beds may be available,” he added.

He urged citizens not to panic, and stated that nearly 90% of those who test positive do not require any serious medical interventions.

Care centres

The BBMP will have in place 12 COVID-19 Care Centres (CCCs) for those who don’t have the wherewithal to isolate themselves at home, said Mr. Gupta.

Apart from these facilities, step down hospital and private CCCs with certain medical facilities are being established by private hospitals in association with hotels.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 3:39:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bbmp-pushes-for-integrated-booking-system/article34388759.ece

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