Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Delhi govt tells Delhi HC decision on reserving ICU beds in pvt hospitals soon

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The Delhi government on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that a committee has been formed to look into the graded strategy of de-escalation, keeping in view the evolving situation and keeping the required regional balance of availability for Covid Care, and has been asked to submit its report late on Wednesday. In view of this, the Court has deferred the hearing till tomorrow.

A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla was hearing the plea filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers challenging the Delhi government’s order reserving 80% Intensive Care Unit beds in private hospitals for Covid-19 patients.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Delhi government informed the Court through its affidavit about the steps taken after the Court asked them to reconsider the impugned order.

A meeting of the Health and Family Welfare Department, the government of Delhi was held on Monday to discuss the issue. A meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority was also held on the same day under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi which was attended by Expert Committee members Dr V.K. Paul of Niti Aayog, Dr Randeep Guleria of AIIMS, Dr. Nivedita from ICMR and Dr. S.K. Singh, Director, NCDC. Several important issues including the development of a new strain of Covid-19 in the UK was discussed in the meeting.

The expert committee suggested the formation of a committee to look into the graded strategy of de-escalation, keeping in view, the current evolving situation and keeping the required regional balance of availability to Covid Care. Therefore, a Committee has been formed and has been directed and submitted its recommendations within two days, based on which Delhi Government’s September 12 order will be reviewed.

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.

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

The order passed by the Delhi government was stayed by the high court on September 22. Later on October 9, the Delhi government had challenged the stay order before the division bench of the Delhi High Court which had refused to vacate the stay.

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Following which, the Delhi Government had approached the Supreme Court against these two orders of September 22 and October 9. The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the High Court’s order, staying the Aam Aadmi Party government’s instruction to private hospitals. On November 12, a division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad had vacated the stay considering the increase in the number of cases in the city till the matter is heard by Justice Navin Chawla on November 26.

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