Waking up to the acute shortage of beds following a steep rise in cases, the State Government has now directed private hospitals and medical college hospitals to share 80% of beds in their facilities to the government for COVID-19.
So far, private hospitals had been asked to allocate 50 % of beds including ICU beds for government referred COVID patients.
Announcing this, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar on Thursday said this is under the State Disaster Management Act. “The private hospitals should make available the 80% beds within two-three days. The rates fixed by Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) for government referred patients will continue to be applicable,” he said.
Besides, all 13 medical colleges (both government and private) in Bengaluru should henceforth only handle emergencies. “Except beds that are dedicated for dialysis, mother and child care and other life threatening diseases, all other beds in these medical colleges will have to be dedicated for COVID patients. This means that over 7,500 beds will be immediately available for COVID treatment only in medical colleges in Bengaluru,” he told reporters.
Reiterating that all nursing homes and hospitals with up to and less than 30 beds should mandatorily treat non-COVID patients, the Minister said the rest (hospitals with 30 beds and above) will mandatorily have to follow the new rule. “The 80% should include all beds (general, oxygenated, ICU and ICU with ventilator),” he asserted.
“This is an unprecedented medical emergency and private hospitals need to recognise this and work with the government,” he said.
Citing the example of former Minister M B Patil, who has announced that COVID patients will be treated at one-fourth the cost fixed by SAST in his BLDE Medical College in Vijayapura, the Minister appealed to all hospital and medical college owners to cooperate with the government.
2,000 ICU beds
The Minister said Bengaluru will soon get eight makeshift ICUs in eight zones of BBMP. This will add 2,000 ICU beds to the city’s health infrastructure.
“The modular ICUs will come up within 15 days across eight zones. Each ICU will have 200 beds but arranging manpower will be a huge challenge. We are working towards that,” he added.
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