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Home / Mumbai News / Hospitals can’t turn patients away without examination: Maharashtra government

Hospitals can’t turn patients away without examination: Maharashtra government

mumbai Updated: May 01, 2020 00:18 IST
Faisal Malik and Rupsa Chakraborty
Faisal Malik and Rupsa Chakraborty

After a number of complaints of hospitals denying admission to patients or delaying treatment, the Maharashtra government on Thursday issued an order that no hospital can turn away any patient without examination and required intervention under any circumstances. The order will come into effect from May 2.

All private and government hospitals in the state have also been directed to check any patient who is entering the hospital premises, and shift or admit him, depending on the patient’s medical condition.

Following the guidelines issued by the Centre, the state has also ordered shifting of all asymptomatic patients without co-morbid conditions to Covid Care Centres, whereas private hospitals can send such patients for home quarantine, but after proper counselling, states the order issued by chief secretary Ajoy Mehta on Thursday.

The hospitals have been warned of action in case directives are not followed scrupulously. “Any patient entering the hospital premises for any treatment of Covid-19 or non Covid-19 ailment should be immediately checked in to casualty or screening clinic. After triage, the patient may be shifted or admitted. Depending upon the site condition, the staging area may be created for screening and triage of patients in isolation so that infections are not transmitted. No patient is to be turned away without examination and required intervention under any circumstances,” the order reads.

The government has asked the directors of health services to prepare the standard operating procedure (SOP) for screening, transferring, admitting and discharging of patients. “Each patient needing hospital admission will be assigned a unique ID by the round-the-clock onsite team of the disaster management department (DMD) of the local body such as the BMC, without which admission cannot be granted. DMD should use this as a more accurate and efficient bed management in all hospitals,” it further states. “This will help in better calculation of beds in hospitals. So if any one calls helpline numbers, it will be easier to get details faster,” said a state health official.

“For this, the state government has given them two days and hence the order will come into force from May 2,” said a senior official, wishing not to be named.

“In order to decongest hospitals, all asymptomatic positive patients without comorbidity should be shifted to appropriate Covid Care Centres (CCC) immediately. All Covid-19 and non-Covid 19 hospitals are also directed to ensure that no admission is granted to asymptomatic positive patients without co-morbidity. Similar patients in private hospitals should be stamped and sent away for home quarantine after proper counselling, according to the Government of India guidelines,” it adds.

The hospitals are also directed to collect swabs of all suspected Covid-19 patients admitted on top priority and ensure that reports are collected within 12 hours and ensure the patients are diagnosed as per clinical conditions and shifted to CCC, Dedicated Covid Health Centers (DCHC) for patients with mild symptoms and Dedicated Covid Hospitals (DCH) for serious patients.

In case of death of a Covid-19 positive patient, the hospital administrations are also directed to ensure that the body is shifted from the ward within 30 minutes and disposed of within 12 hours for which necessary processes have to be defined keeping in view the prevalent regulations.

“In Mumbai, the mobilisation of the ambulances should be controlled centrally by the Disaster Management Department of the BMC,” states the order. This is being done to ensure ambulances can be made available to the patients without any delay, said the senior official.

Health experts have welcomed the move. “Patients run from pillar to post seeking treatment, but due to the lack of a proper guideline, they are being refused treatment. Doctors and staff are clueless how to manage patients. This will be helpful, but there is also a need for its proper implementation,” said Dr Ravikant Singh, a health activist.

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