Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the state still has 4,200 free COVID-19 beds, but admitted that dozens of people have faced difficulty in getting access to these beds in the last few days.
“I have seen that there are people who are coming on TV channels and saying that we could not find a single bed, we had to go from this hospital to that and so on,” Kejriwal said in his daily update today.
He said his team followed up on these cases, and found that 150-200 people did face such rejections.
“At the same time, 1,900 people have been admitted in the last eight days,” Kejriwal said, adding that his team was trying to figure out where the problem lay.
The Delhi government had come out with an app that was supposed to help sick people locate hospitals with empty beds quickly.
However, dozens of cases have been reported by the media to show that the app-based system is not working, and when people approach a hospital in which vacant beds are indicated, they are often hit with the ‘no vacancy’ banner.
There was even a case of a person who could not get a bed anywhere in Delhi and admitted himself to a hospital in Bhopal after travelling for nearly 1,000 km by train.
“The system is not perfect. We are trying to figure out why people faced the difficulty and resolve it, so that others do not have to go through the same problems,” the chief minister said.
Kejriwal also urged citizens to check with government hospitals, as dedicated COVID-19 beds in private hospitals are mostly filled, pointing out that most of the 4,200 free beds are in state government hospitals.
People generally do not prefer to go to Delhi government hospitals due to concerns over the level of care. There have been reports in the media highlighting negligence and corruption in the treatment of COVID-19 cases in some hospitals in Delhi.
Kejriwal also asked all his supporters to accept the decision by the central government against his decision to block people from outside Delhi from using private hospitals in the city.
However, he also warned that Delhi would have close to 5 lakh cases by mid July, and therefore, would need around 88,000 beds, which is several times the current availability.
The city currently has around 19,000 beds in the government sector and several thousand in the private sector.
Kejriwal said, since the central government has ensured that private hospitals cannot be compelled to reject out-of-Delhi patients, the requirement for beds would only increase.
“Since, about half of the patients in Delhi’s hospitals are from outside the city, we would need around 1.5 lakh beds by July 15 if we are to fully meet the demand,” he said.
He also urged neighboring states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to also get ready for the surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming months so that hospitals in Delhi are not overwhelmed by patients from satellite towns like Gurgaon and NOIDA.
A large number of Delhiites, especially the well-to-do, have shifted to areas like Gurgaon and NOIDA in recent years due to the availability of better residential facilities.
However, they continue to work in Delhi and also depend on the city for healthcare facilities. Kejriwal’s decision to block COVID-19 patients from NOIDA, Gurgaon and other satellite cities from using Delhi’s private hospitals had caused much concern among the residents of these areas as these areas are primarily designed as residential zones.