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Covid ICU beds: Delhi govt blinks, to cut reservation of ICU beds in private hospitals to 60 pc from 80

The Delhi Government has informed the Delhi High Court that the reservation of ICU beds in 33 private hospitals of Covid-19 patients will be reduced from 80% to 60%. The Delhi government’s decision will result in an increased number of ICU beds for non-Covid-19 patients but ICU beds for Covid-19 patients will remain the same in Delhi government hospitals.

The Delhi Government’s submission was made in the plea filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers challenging the Delhi Government’s order reserving 80% ICU beds in private hospitals for Covid-19 patients.

In a meeting conducted on Wednesday, for the formulation of recommendations regarding the de-escalation of Covid-19 dedicated beds, it was found that there was a significant decline in Covid-19 cases admitted in the hospital from 6,023 on December 7 to 2,866 on December 23, registering a fall of 52.4%.

The minutes of the meeting stated Covid-19 bed occupancy on December 23 is 2,866 (total Covid-19 beds are 18,779), and Covid-19 ICU bed occupancy is 1,319 (total Covid-19 ICU beds are 5,100).

The Committee has recommended that the reservation be reduced to 60% which will make 40% ICU beds, and approx 600 ICU beds, available for Non-Covid Critical care.

It has decided that the status of the “Fully Covid Hospitals” should not be changed as for now, and all the Hospitals will be free to have more Covid beds than mandated, in all the categories of beds in view of logistical and practical convenience.

The Committee has also decided that considering the current Covid-19 scenario, the de-escalation plan will be reversible in nature and non-Covid beds thus provisioned through this arrangement will be conversational to Covid beds in case of any such need across the State.

The Committee has given its recommendation after a meeting was convened by members Udit Prakash Rai, IAS, Spl. Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Nutan Mundeja, DGHS, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Dr. Suneet Kaur, NCDC and Dr. Anant Mohan, Professor and Head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Crirtical Care and Sleep Medicine, AIIMS, Delhi.

The minutes of the meeting stated,

“It was unanimously agreed that in the backdrop of the current declining trend of occupancy among all categories of beds (Oxygenated, ICU, Ventilator COVID Beds), the de-escalation may be carried out in a graded manner preferably in Delhi Government Hospitals & Private Sector Hospitals. The committee decided not to recommend any change in the status of the Covid beds for the Central Govt Hospitals.”

“Since Lok Nayak Hospital (Central District) & Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital (Shahdara District) are the prominent ones among Government Sector catering to medical need of major portion of population including children grossly from all parts of Delhi in terms of emergency medical/other medical/tertiary care, it was agreed that Covid beds shall be de-escalated to 1,000 Covid beds from existing 2010 Covid beds in Lok Nayak Hospital (freeing up 1010 Covid beds for non-Covid and 500 Covid beds in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital from existing 1,500 Covid beds (freeing up 1,000 Covid beds for non-Covid) leading to 50% (LNH) and 66% (GTB) de-escalation of Covid beds,” the minutes read.

Further, the committee was cognizant of the fact that the critical care for non-Covid patient is also very important especially in the upcoming winter season. At present, the occupancy of Covid ICU beds is 1,319 out of total Covid 5,100 beds (approx 26%). Also the committee was aware of the evolving situation of the new strain of Covid-19 virus found in UK and need of critical care in Covid-19 pandemic.

The minutes of the meeting further read,

“Taking into account, the current Covid scenario, Committee members categorically decided that de-escalation plan shall be reversible in nature and non-Covid beds thus provisioned via this arrangement shall be converted to Covid beds in case of any such need across the State.”

“The Committee will re-visit the recommendations after 10 days to assess the impact/outcome on Covid and non-Covid medical services and will strategize accordingly for new recommendations, if required in light of the emerging situation,” it said.

The plea has been filed seeking availability of ICU beds for Non-Covid patients in Delhi, and quashing of the Delhi Government’s order dated September 12, 2020 directing about 33 private hospitals and nursing homes, across the NCT of Delhi, to reserve or earmark 80% of their total ICU/HDU beds for Covid-19 patients. The Petitioner has also sought reservation of 40% of their total ICU/HDU beds, as opposed to 80%, in private nursing homes and hospitals.

Also Read: Delhi HC issues notice to CIC for misinterpreting RTI Act provisions

The petition was filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers, contending that the order has been issued without any discussion with private hospitals and without understanding the current demand-supply situation of critical care beds.

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