There are 61 private hospitals across the city that have acquired land at cheaper rates and, according to an order by the Supreme Court, they have to reserve 10% of their in-patient department capacity and 25% out-patient department for free treatment of poor patients.
Ashok Agarwal, a member of the committee appointed by Delhi High Court for implementation of free bed facility, said together, they have more than 950 beds earmarked for EWS patients. “Since the pandemic started, many hospitals haven’t been admitting EWS patients on one pretext or the other. I hope the government directives to hospitals to fulfil their mandate will help change the situation,” he said.
On Thursday, the real-time data shared by hospitals showed more than 500 EWS beds were lying vacant. This included 25 ICU beds with ventilator support and 55 ICU beds without ventilator support. ICU beds have been in high demand due to Covid-19 outbreak and many patients are struggling to find such beds.
The rule says any poor patient can visit a private hospital directly for admission under EWS quota or state-run hospitals can refer their patients if required. Nodal officers have been deputed by all hospitals to facilitate admission to the needy, officials said. “Due to Covid-19 pandemic, many patients with non-Covid problems are avoiding visiting hospitals. This could be one of the reasons behind vacant beds under the EWS category,” said an official in the state health department.