Bengaluru: Two private hospitals were forced to shut their out-patient department (OPD) after the Bengaluru Urban district health officer was informed that they refused to admit SARI and ILI patients claiming shortage of beds.
Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) are conditions associated with Covid-19 but can also be symptoms of other diseases such as swine flu and seasonal flu.
After carrying out an inspection of the facilities, District Health Officer G.A. Srinivas issued notices to Apollo Speciality Hospital in Jayanagar and Vikram Hospital on Millers’ Road for not complying with several government directives.
The hospitals were found to be turning away patients seeking treatment, and had not reserved 50 per cent of their beds for Covid patients as mandated by the government, health officials said.
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Refused to treat patients referred through helpline
In a circular issued Tuesday, the state government said the two hospitals were risking losing their licences under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act if they continued to turn away Covid-19 patients after the 48-hour OPD closure.
Karnataka’s Health secretary Pankaj Kumar Pandey on Twitter confirmed the 48-hour sealing of the OPDs.
“It takes a coherent effort by each segment of the society to beat the pandemic. Private Hospitals should cooperate with the Government, to ensure that no Covid patient is deprived of treatment,” he said.
OPDs of Vikram Hospital and Sagar Apollo, Jayanagar have been sealed for 48 hours.
It takes a coherent effort by each segment of the society to beat the pandemic. Private Hospitals should co-operate with the Government, to ensure that no Covid patient is deprived of treatment. pic.twitter.com/clKGncFR1W
— PANKAJ KUMAR PANDEY, IAS (@iaspankajpandey) July 14, 2020
According to officials, Apollo Hospital refused to treat patients who were referred through the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Helpline (1912), citing a shortage of beds.
The Apollo Specialty Hospital, however, denied the charge and said, as a designated Covid hospital, it had been complying with the required norms.
“We have operationalised 60 beds out of which 30 beds are allocated to government referral patients. You can send any staff for the verification of facts. We will always comply with the government directives and regulations,“ said a statement issued by Dr Govindaiah Yatheesh, Unit Head, Apollo Hospitals, Jayanagar.
“As of now we have nine government referral patients from BBMP and 40 patients are direct walk-in patients with symptoms of ILI & SARI,” he said.
Dr Yatheesh added that the hospital had even admitted patients who were in a very critical condition.
However, he said, the hospital was facing an “acute shortage of staff” and would open up the hospital to full strength in a phased manner. “Once the existing patients get discharged, we will be able to accommodate more government referral patients, as per bed availability,” he said.
An official at the Vikram Hospital told ThePrint they were adhering to the government’s directions. “We have shut our OPD for two days as per the department’s notice,” the official said.
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