For now, Delhi hospitals only for city residents: CM Kejriwal

Updated on Jun 08, 2020 01:24 AM IST

People from other states can still be treated in the national capital’s hospitals that come under the central government. These include the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

On June 1, Kejriwal ordered the closure of Delhi’s borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.(ANI)
On June 1, Kejriwal ordered the closure of Delhi’s borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.(ANI)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAbhishek Dey

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday beds in hospitals under the Delhi government, and private hospitals — with the exception of those providing specialised surgeries in certain fields — will be reserved for people of Delhi till the Covid-19 crisis subsides, even as he announced that the city’s borders with neighbouring states will be opened on Monday.

People from other states can still be treated in the national capital’s hospitals that come under the central government. These include the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

On June 1, Kejriwal ordered the closure of Delhi’s borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. On the same day, he sought suggestions from the city’s residents on whether the Capital should open its borders, citing the capacity of Delhi’s health care infrastructure, which he said could get burdened if people from other states were admitted.

Citing the feedback from the city’s residents, Kejriwal said on Sunday that around 750,000 people responded, of whom more than 90% said that hospitals in Delhi should only cater to the residents of the city till the pandemic subsides.

In a digital news briefing, Kejriwal said the government’s move was aimed at “striking a balance” as Delhi opens its borders with neighbouring states at a time when the city-state is reviving business and economic activities, and restarting public transport, even as daily new cases continue to remain over 1,000 in the recent days.

“There will be utter chaos at the hospital’s emergency unit if we were to check the ID card of each patient that lands up here,” said a senior administrative official of a city hospital, asking not to be identified.

Other hospitals said they needed to read the formal order to know the exact details of the directive.

“We are yet to get the order, and will be in a position to respond once we get the notification,” said a spokesperson for Apollo Hospital. A Fortis Hospital spokesperson, too, said they awaiting the formal order “and will act according to the details”.

Dr Sanjay Mehta, unit head and VP, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, also said they were waiting for the formal order to implement the directives.

The Delhi government clarified that the directive was not applicable to central government-run hospitals.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has said the Centre’s hospitals in Delhi are trying to accommodate as many patients as possible. “Our hospitals such as AIIMS, Safdarjung, RML and Lady Hardinge are handling a lot of patient load in Delhi, including Covid-19 cases,” he said.

The Delhi government, on Wednesday last week, set up a five-member advisory panel headed by Dr Mahesh Verma, vice-chancellor of Indraprastha University, to guide the government with its health care augmentation plan amid an increasing number of Covid-19 cases.

Citing the findings of a report submitted by the body to the chief minister’s office on Saturday, Kejriwal said: “The five-member committee assessed the situation and found that by the end of June, Delhi will require around 15,000 beds to treat Corona patients. There are around 10,000 beds each in Delhi government and Centre-run hospitals. The five-member committee has also said that if people from other states are given access to Delhi government hospitals, around 9,000 beds can get occupied within three days.”

“So far, the people of Delhi never refused treatment to those from other states, who, at any given point, comprise 60-70% of total patients in Delhi government hospitals. But Covid-19 cases are now rising in the city. The panel has suggested that the beds should be reserved for a few months. The cabinet decided that there is a need to strike a balance. So, we will open up borders and reserve beds in Delhi government hospitals. And the Centre-run hospitals will be for people across the country. The private hospitals will also be reserved for Delhi’s people,” Kejriwal said.

“But those conducting specialised surgeries, which are not available elsewhere, especially in the fields of organ transplant, oncology and neurology, will be allowed to admit patients from other states. This balance will protect the rights of people of Delhi as well as those from other states,” he added. Senior officials said the government is in the process of preparing a list of such private hospitals.

Delhi has five Covid-19-dedicated government hospitals and 10 such private hospitals. So far, the Capital has a total of 8,049 beds to treat Covid-19 patients.

The government has also shortlisted some stadiums, hotels and banquet halls in the city to be used as extended hospital facilities for space augmentation in the days to come. Government records showed, as on June 7, the 15 hospitals collectively had 8,049 beds, of which 4,250 were occupied. These hospitals collectively have 480 ventilators, of which 237 were occupied.

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