New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) As the third-wave of the coronavirus infection in the national capital has completely ebbed, the Delhi government has set up a four-member committee to make recommendations on reducing the number of hospital beds earmarked for the treatment of Covid-19 patients and re-initiation of non-Covid services.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led government formed the committee to "carefully assess the current position, including trends of hospital admission and discharges, and recommend graded de-escalation of Covid-dedicated beds".
The committee has also been asked to recommend "whether ICU and other critical care beds should, at this stage, form part of the proposed de-escalation".
It has also been directed to ensure that the capacity de-escalation recommendations strike a harmonious balance between regional and locational access across all categories of hospitals and need to have a buffer capacity for patients from the neighbouring states.
The committee includes Special Secretary (Health) Udit Prakash Rai, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Nutan Mundeja, National Centre of Disease Control's (NCDC) Dr. Suneet Kaur and Dr. Anant Mohan, AIIMS's Professor and Head of Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
The four-member committee will submit its recommendations latest by Wednesday evening.
According to the government's 'corona' application which gives real-time updates, out of the total 18,779 beds for the coronavirus patients, only 2,862 are currently occupied. There are 5,100 intensive care units, with and without ventilators, out of which 1,313 are filled.
In November when the city was going through the third wave and the number of cases was on a rise, the city had run out of beds, prompting the government to order reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients.
With beds turning vacant now, the Association of Healthcare Providers has moved the court seeking reversal of the order, asserting that more than half of the reserved ICU beds are lying vacant and that there is no justification to continue with the status quo.
Meanwhile, the doctors and medical students from fully Covid Lok Nayak Hospital and associated Maulana Azad Medical College are also protesting, demanding non-Covid services to be restarted. The postgraduate students and resident doctors, who should be trained in their fields, have been managing only Covid-19 patients.
The recommendations of the committee are likely to bring respite to both the private hospitals and the protesting medical faculty.