Oxygen audit of hospitals is mandatory, says Karnataka government

The State government has now prohibited the supply of medical oxygen to individuals by confining it only to hospitals. It has also made it mandatory to conduct oxygen audit at each hospital.

These were part of the medical oxygen management guidelines issued by the government on the directions of the High Court of Karnataka.

“The refillers or manufacturers shall not supply medical oxygen to individual persons and all medical oxygen supplies shall be only to hospitals,” states the list of guidelines, issued under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020. Any violation would attract penalties as per these laws.

“The oxygen audit would lead to identification of hospitals which may be consuming oxygen way beyond the norm and, therefore, to the plugging of leakage and sub-optimal usage of oxygen. The complete district and BBMP zone oxygen audit shall be completed within seven days and repeated every week,” states the list, issued on May 9 by the Chief Secretary and submitted to the High Court on May 12.

Additional Advocate-General Subramanya R., citing expert views, told a Special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar that allowing oxygen cylinders to be kept at homes would lead to serious consequences.

The guidelines put restrictions on both private and government hospitals on increasing the number of oxygenated beds without prior tie-up for enhanced oxygen supply. “...the hospitals in the districts and Bengaluru are increasing their consumption beyond supply by increasing the number of oxygenated beds. This is the core reason for hospitals running out of oxygen,” it was pointed out.

Buffer stock

The Deputy Commissioners of every district and the Commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should ensure the setting up of 24x7 oxygen cells, which work out the requirement of oxygen per hospital and district/zone. The officers have been asked to create a buffer stock of 10% of their daily consumption at their disposal to meet any emergency situation.

The guidelines also lay down the protocol for hospitals when they are unable to handle oxygen emergency on their own. They have to get in touch with the district/zonal oxygen cells through the 24x7 helpline and escalate to district-level nodal officers and State-level nodal officer when they are unable to resolve the issues at a lower level.

The State oxygen nodal officer has been empowered to order in writing that supplies to a particular hospital or more hospitals in a district shall be supplied by a particular re-filler and manufacturer, for such a period of time as necessary to meet COVID-19 oxygen requirement of the hospitals/districts.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 9:27:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/oxygen-audit-of-hospitals-is-mandatory-says-karnataka-government/article34560985.ece

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