The Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan writes to chief secretaries of states and administrators of union territories, asking them to ensure that private hospitals and clinics to remain functional for non-coronavirus patients. The letter also states that no patient should be denied any essential services like dialysis, blood transfusion, etc.
This has come in response to the reports received by the Ministry stating that many private hospitals owing to the fear of contracting coronavirus, have either not been providing critical services like dialysis, blood transfusion, etc to its patients, or are insisting on the patients being tested for COVID-19 first. Many of these hospitals and clinics have also remained closed.
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, while addressing the Chief Secretaries and Administrators of all States, complimented the hardwork commitment of the States towards overcoming the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and acknowledged the exceptional work done by them in containing the outbreak and improving the Dedicated COVID facilities for providing assured and quality services to COVID-19 patients.
The letter, emphasizing on the importance of non-COVID essential health services stated that the Department of Health and Family Welfare had recently issued a Guidance note and asked the States to ensure that such health services are provided.
The non-COVID essential health services includes essential services for RCH, immunization, communicable diseases such as TB, Leprosy and vector borne diseases and non-communicable diseases such as cancer and dialysis. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had also issued detailed guidelines regarding dialysis, blood donation and transfusion during the Covid-19 situation
Recently on April 20th, the Health Minister had written to Health Ministers of all states asking them to ensure assured and uninterrupted blood donation and transfusion services for people with blood disorders such as Thalassemia, Haemophilia and Sickle Cell Anaemia
The Ministry has therefore asked the States to follow a few directions to ensure provision of health facilities and functionality of the private hospitals and clinics:
All health services should remain functional and movement of healthcare service provider be facilitated.
The health care providers should be advised to take precautions for their personal protection and official guidelines as issued by the Ministry for rational use of PPE and prevention and control of infection, should also be shared with them.
The guidelines on detection of suspect or confirmed cases, and the advisory on use of Hydroxy-Chloroquine should be followed and implemented efficiently. Helplines be set up to receive grievances of denial of critical services, and staff be trained to to resolve them quickly.