With COVID cases and deaths touching new records every day, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Monday directed all the authorities concerned fighting the pandemic to remain present on Thursday and inform on steps taken to contain the deadly virus. They included Nagpur Municipal Corporation(NMC) commissioner, collector, AIIMS superintendent along with deans of both Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals (GMCH and IGGMCH).
While hearing a suo motu PIL based on the TOI report of August 24 exposing shortage of beds in city hospitals, a division bench comprising justices Ravi Deshpande and Pushpa Ganediwala clarified that they would hear authorities personally in physical hearing. Shreerang Bhandarkar is appointed as amicus curiae in the case.
Earlier, an affidavit by NMC additional medical officer Dr. Narendra Bahirwar informed that 33 private hospitals are converted into dedicated COVID health centers (DCHC) having a capacity of 1,540 beds, besides GMCH, IGGMCH, and AIIMS. Lata Mangeshkar Medical College and Shalinitai Meghe Medical College, having combined strength of 540 beds, have been exclusively catering to COVID patients.
The civic body has also started DCHC for moderately affected patients at Indira Gandhi Rugnalaya in Gandhi Nagar from August 15. It has a capacity of 120 beds, but currently, 30 patients are admitted there.
On September 4, it had directed 31 more hospitals having 1,707 beds to start treating COVID patients. All of them were told to charge fees as per rates fixed and approved by the government. However, some of them showed an unwillingness to treat such patients.
Dr. Bahirwar said, one of the reasons for the shortage of beds in all hospitals is manpower shortage. “Though private one started admitting such patients, they’re not admitting them to full capacity due to lack of medically skilled staff. Unless manpower is increased, the beds there can’t be utilized to full capacity. Another reason is city hospitals are not only catering to local patients, but also from the entire Vidarbha region and neighboring states like Madhya Pradesh,” he said
Nagpur Nagrik Hosp not usable for COVID patients
On HC’s query for exploring Nagpur Nagrik Sahakari Rugnalaya (NNSR) to be used as COVID hospital, the NMC replied that it wouldn’t recommend it, as it would require a huge amount to renovate it and bringing skilled manpower would be difficult. The civic body had sought a report from Dr. RJ Waghmare to determine NNSR’s usability. “It came to fore that the building is dilapidated and needs a structural audit. It also lacked infrastructure, staff, and instruments, as it’s closed down for the last five years. In the future, it can be made available after renovation, instruments, and staff availability. NMC needs to spend a huge amount for restarting it, but itself is facing manpower shortage and can’t depute its employees,” Dr. Bahirwar said.
(With inputs from TimesOfIndia)