Covid situation: Maharashtra govt, doctors’ body engage in blame game
State seeks audit of medical staff, latter claims authorities neglected public healthcare.Updated: Sep 22, 2020, 17:07 IST
Pune: Series of decisions by the Maharashtra government in its fight against Covid-19 pandemic has upset the doctors, who are now blaming those is power responsible for deteriorating health situation in the state.
The accusation by doctors came after Jayant Patil, state water resources minister, blamed doctors for not properly treating patients while stressing for need to audit work of medical staff.
The latest blame game has worsened the relationship between doctors and the government when the state is worst affected across the country with a total of 1,208,642 Covid cases and 32,671 fatalities as of September 21.
“Maharashtra government says private doctors are unnecessarily admitting patients. The same government was earlier issuing legal notices to doctors for not admitting patients. It’s not the doctors, but you (government) are responsible for failure to control Covid pandemic in the state,” said Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra chapter.
According to Patil, fatalities are increasing as a result of lack of treatment from doctors. “Because of Covid fear, patients are not being able to get proper treatment from doctors. This has resulted in rising fatality rate. If the situation continues, we will have to audit doctors’ work along with bills,” Patil had said in Sangli.
Bhondwe criticised Patil’s remarks saying the government “must first audit all the work that it has done” for the past 73 years for the health infrastructure in this country.
During the interview to HT on September 1, state health minister Rajesh Tope had blamed doctors for not doing enough. Tope had said, “Doctors should not just treat patients for the sake of treatment. It should come from the heart. We are witnessing that at some places, doctors are not treating patients properly may be because they are scared. There is human touch required while treating patients.”
In addition to the resistance by the doctors’ body to cap prices of treatment for Covid-19, taking over beds and strict action against doctors and hospitals, it has now come out in strong opposition against the government circular to regulate the use of oxygen for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The circular has faced opposition from the state task force too which called it impractical and suicidal for some patients who might need oxygen way above prescribed by the government. After much resistance the government is now underway to withdraw the circular and instead ask for “judicious” use of oxygen for the treatment of patients.
“After much resistance from the doctors’ body and even doctors from the state’s task force, the government is likely to withdraw the circular. The circular asked regularised use of oxygen at 7 litres/ minute for the oxygen beds and 12 litres per minute for ICU. The circular also hints that doctors from private hospitals in Maharashtra overuse oxygen,” said Bhondwe.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra Covid-19 task force said, “The circular is now being withdrawn after we criticised the decision. Doctors have now been asked to judiciously use oxygen supply.”
The continuous spat between the doctors’ body and the government is out in the open as the government seeks to conduct an audit of private hospitals. The IMA challenges that the government must first audit its own expenditure on the health sector.