NEWS
11/06/2020 2:04 PM IST

Amid Backlash Over Hospital Beds, Delhi To Ramp Up Facilities And Increase Transparency

Satyendar Jain said the Delhi government will arrange 15,000 beds for Covid-19 patients by June 20.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Medical workers speaking with family members of patients admitted to the Covid-19 ward at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) on June 10, 2020 in New Delhi.

Amid complaints of non-availability of beds and steadily rising cases of Covid-19 in Delhi, the Arvind Kejriwal government and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said they have taken steps to ramp up the number of available beds and ensure transparency. 

Health minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said the Delhi government will arrange 15,000 more beds for Covid-19 patients by June 20 and that preparations are being made to meet the projected healthcare infrastructure requirement.

This comes as Kejriwal said that Delhi will need 1.5 lakh beds by July 31 once people start coming from other states for treatment. The LG had on Tuesday overruled the government’s decision to reserve Delhi government and private hospitals for residents of the capital.  

A delegation of Delhi Medical Association has also offered to help the government, according to PTI.

“A large number of beds will be created in various hotels, banquet halls and community halls, etc, in joint collaboration, where DMA will take care of manpower and the government will provide infrastructure and other essential things. A detailed plan is being worked out,” the DMA said in a statement, according to PTI.

Reuters had reported on how people in Delhi were struggling to get a hospital bed. Several people complained last week that while the app shows that hospitals have beds, they or people they know have been denied admission in these places. HuffPost India had also found discrepancies between the numbers shown by the app and those available at the hospitals.

Responding to the issue, Kejriwal, in a press conference, had said that while most private hospitals are doing a good job, some are indulging in “black-marketing”.

According to the Union health ministry, Delhi has 32,810 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday. 

LG directs hospitals to display information on beds

The LG on Wednesday directed hospitals to display information on available beds, charges for rooms and details of the person to be contacted for admission outside the hospitals on LED boards. 

Aimed at increasing transparency, Baijal also asked chief secretary Vijay Dev to ensure that his directions are followed, The Times of India reported.

The order also said that the health department should ensure that data being displayed on the LED boards is “reconciled with the data available on the government app/portal”. 

Baijal also said surprise checks may also be conducted by officers deputed by Delhi Disaster Management Authority to ensure that correct data is being displayed and no eligible patient is denied admission or is overcharged, the report added.  

Delhi HC order

The Delhi High Court has also ordered the Delhi government to ensure that data about the availability of beds and ventilators is updated in real-time on the government app. 

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan heard a plea it had initiated itself on the basis of a video clip, according to The Indian Express. The video, the report added, was of a man who had to run from pillar to post to get his mother, who tested positive for Covid-19, hospitalised. 

Amicus Curiae Om Prakash told the court the “Delhi Corona” app was not being updated regularly. He also said that there was a mismatch between facts and data released by the government and private hospitals in Delhi, especially with regard to the availability of the beds and ventilators, according to ANI.

(With PTI inputs)