Coronavirus in India: If public hospitals are 70% empty, why can’t people get beds? The | India News
Doctors and public health experts believe this is the result of the general perception that government hospitals may not have good infrastructure and hygiene, and a shortage of staff could lead to neglect of patients.
The Delhi government has reserved 4,360 beds in six hospitals, namely Lok Nayak (2,000), Guru Tegh Bahadur (1,500), Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty (500), Deep Chand Bandhu (176), Raja Harish Chandra (168) and Jag Pravesh Chandra. (16), based on real-time data shared in the Delhi Corona app. Of these, as of Wednesday, 61% of the beds were empty at Lok Nayak Hospital, which is the state’s largest health center. Guru Tegh Bahadur (89%), Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty (49%), Deep Chand Bandhu (53%), Raja Harish Chandra (87%), and Jag Pravesh Chandra (100%) also had enough beds to accommodate the increasing number of cases.
Hospitals administered by the Center have 1,470 Covid-19 beds. Of these, 84% were occupied on Wednesday. Lady Hardinge Medical College did not have empty beds, while Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung, AIIMS-Delhi and AIIMS-Jhajjar had 2, 6, 63 and 164 available beds, respectively.
There are 3,349 beds in private hospitals, excluding the 2,000 to be added according to the Delhi government order on Tuesday, and only 29% of the beds were empty. So even though there are more than 9,000 beds available for Covid-19 patients in the city, there is a sense of crisis. Lawyer and public health activist Ashok Agarwal says people do not want to go to government hospitals for infrastructure and hygiene reasons.
“I meet patients who are willing to wait to get a bed in a private hospital, but do not want to be admitted to a public hospital because they feel that the care offered there will not be good enough,” he said. Agarwal noted that, unlike private hospitals, most government hospitals do not have individual rooms. Additionally, patients squirm at the thought of having to share the bathroom with many others.
“Sanitation and poor hygiene are definitely serious concerns,” said a senior doctor at Lok Nayak Hospital. “Government hospitals have a common bathroom. Patients are admitted primarily to the general ward, which has eight to 10 patients in one ward,” he added.
This, he said, was despite the fact that medical and surgical interventions in government hospitals were often better or on par with private facilities. A doctor at a government hospital was recently quoted as saying that patients may feel neglected without an assistant and when staff, in current circumstances, are afraid. State hospitals are also plagued with staffing shortages, with some also choosing to make admissions cautiously, the sources said.
“We have 500 Covid beds, but we are not able to operate at 100% of capacity with the current force,” said a doctor at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital in East Delhi, administered by the Delhi government. “Our hospital faces a severe shortage of staff and the problem has been raised with the government several times.”
At the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, where 89% of the beds are empty, an official said they were recently designated for treatment with Covid and that the number would increase in the coming days. AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria says government hospitals have to improve infrastructure to win people’s trust. Covid facilities require a centralized supply of oxygen and an adequate number of fans.
“We are treating Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms at the trauma center, while those with mild symptoms are being treated at the Jhajjar center,” he said. However, Dr. S K Sarin, director of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, feels that there is a misconception among people about government hospitals, which must change.