Noida: Number of patients, surgeries remains low during Unlock phase
The number of surgeries in Gautam Budh Nagar hospitals have plummeted by around 40% in July to September period (till date) this year when compared to 2019, the district chief medical officer (CMO) said. During the same period, he added, number of out-patient department (OPD) patients dropped 70%.
This period comes after the 68-day Covid-19-induced lockdown period. From June 8, the central government’s Unlock protocols had begun and economic activities were slowly opened and movement of people resumed. The latest of these Unlock protocols, the fourth, was announced on August 29.
The numbers could suggest that people are yet to confidently approach hospitals and that hospitals were continuing to defer non-essential surgeries. Another reason could be that migrant workers were yet to return to the city.
There are 17 government hospital and over 100 private hospitals. Of these, six government hospitals and nine private hospitals are dedicated to treating Covid patients.
In the sector 30 district hospital, OPD turnout was 56,125 and surgeries were 697 during 2020 period. Last year, there were 225,736 OPD patients and 1,359 surgeries.
Hospital superintendent Dr. V B Dhaka said that Covid-19 had derailed the whole health care system. “We have only two anaesthetists. While one of them contracted Covid-19, the other one is deputed to a Covid-19 facility in sector 39. As a result, we have so far cancelled about 300 surgeries in the last three months,” he said.
Dr. Dhaka said that an ad hoc anaesthetist handles critical surgery cases. “I hope things will get normal once the pandemic situation is over and our hospital will have its full strength of staff,” he said.
Dr. Balraj Bhandar, deputy medical superintendent of Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital in sector 24, says they are serving emergency surgery cases. “There is a big fall in patients turnout. As compared to last year, the number of OPD patients from July has halved,” he said.
The usually teeming OPD of the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) nowadays wears a deserted look. After being designated an L-3 Covid-19 facility to treat severe cases, the hospital shut its OPD ward.
The hospital is the only critical government healthcare centre for this area and many adjoining villages. Dr. Rakesh Gupta, GIMS director, said that despite knowing this, the hospital is not in a position to start its OPD again. “At present, we serving only Covid-19 cases. Before the pandemic, the average daily turnout in OPD here was around 2,000 patients, while our doctors use to do surgeries of at least 100 patients daily. But now these facilities are not available here,” he said.
Private hospitals, too, have been impact.
Sharda hospital recorded around 45,000 OPD patients since July, a third of its figures during same period last year. “The number of surgeries recorded from July is around 2,500, which is less than half compared to last year’s figures,” said Dr. Ashutosh Niranjan, the medical superintendent of Sharda hospital.
The spokesperson of Fortis hospital in sector 62, also said that there is a sharp decline in OPD patients and surgeries since July. “The number of surgeries done between July 1 to September 26 last year was 5,632, which has been reduced to 3,450 in same period this year,” she said.
“The reason for low turnout in OPDs is that people are apprehended to go hospitals. They fear that that in contact with other people they might get Covid infection. Even in normal surgery cases, people are trying to avoid it,” said CMO Dr. Deepak Ohri.
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