Delhi Govt rolls back its decision of Making Nursing Homes COVID Facilities after backlash from DMA
New Delhi: After facing backlash from the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) objecting to its decision of making nursing homes as COVID 19 facilities, the Delhi government has rolled back its order with immediate effect.
On June 13th, the government had declared that small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes in the national capital which have 10 to 49 beds will be declared as "COVID nursing homes".
Small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes in the city having 10 to 49 beds have been declared as "COVID nursing homes" by the Delhi government to increase the bed capacity for coronavirus patients, according to an official order issued on Saturday.
Delhi CM Kejriwal had said that the bed strength in the national capital for treating coronavirus patients will increase by 5,000 due to the decision.
Making an official confirmation on the same, the Delhi CM took to twitter. "With the Delhi government's decision, over 5,000 beds will be available for coronavirus patients. In the next few days, our officials will talk to owners of each nursing home to solve their problems," the Delhi CM had tweeted.
दिल्ली सरकार के इस निर्णय से 5000 से अधिक बेड करोना के लिए उपलब्ध हो जाएँगे— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 14, 2020
अगले कुछ दिनों में हमारे अधिकारी हर नर्सिंग होम के मालिक से बात करके उनकी समस्याओं को भी दूर करेंगे https://t.co/ClXhMJRBLv
Only standalone exclusive eye centres, ENT centres, dialysis centres, maternity homes and IVF centres are presently exempted, the order read.
However, the move then received severe condemnation from the DMA which then wrote to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Expressing opposition to the city government's decision to declare small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes as "COVID nursing homes", the DMA, in the letter, raised concerns over the decision saying the order is going to harm healthcare needs of the non-COVID patients and will put residents of small colonies at severe risk.
All doctors at such medical set-ups have been equally contributing with the government in this grave situation by meeting primary healthcare needs of thousands of non-COVID-19 patients in the last two-and-a-half months, by being available 24X7 to common people in need of a medical service, the letter said.
It claimed that the government health structure has been unable to provide sufficient support to thousands of OPD patients and those requiring medical intervention/surgeries during pandemic.
"Large number of non-COVID patients i.e. pediatric, pregnant women, diabetes , hypertension, COPD, surgical, orthopaedic patients and many other non-COVID patients, who have been getting treatment at all these medical establishments will be left with no economical, doorstep healthcare facilities," the letter said.
There are already follow-up patients, patients under hospitalisation, some pregnant women are approaching their due date of delivery and such cases cannot be refused medical services and be left at the mercy of destiny to deal with their medical needs, it added.
The letter also said that according to the protocol, moderate COVID-19 cases may need ICU, which is not available in most small nursing homes and severe cases need ICU and ventilators, which are not available in such facilities.
"Most of the doctors are having their residences in the same premises in these small nursing homes, which if converted into COVID set-up, will put families of these doctors, which include senior citizens and children, at great risk of infection," the letter said.
The letter also expressed concern about the health of doctors running these nursing homes.
"Many doctors running these nursing homes are themselves of an age group between 50 years to 65 years of age, which if directed to convert their existing set-ups to COVID nursing homes, will put them to a risk of infection, without there being sufficient arrangement for safety and soial distancing," it said.
Most of these small nursing homes do not have sufficient staff, as many have already left for their hometowns and also the one available are not trained or capable to deal with critical care required for COVID-19 patients, the DMA said.
All small nursing homes are located upon small plot sizes and inside small residential areas or streets and colonies and they will become epicentres of coronavirus spread in the community, and this move is being opposed by RWAs, it added.
The DMA also suggested that the Delhi government can convert more of its hospitals and create more COVID beds as only five hospitals out of a total of 34 state-run medical institutions have been utilised to create COVID treatment facilities. Improving the facilities in their own medical institutions is the need of the hour and will provide much-needed quality and timely care to COVID-19 patients. There are many government medical institutions that can be converted to COVID care hospitals like municipal corporation hospitals, railways hospitals, ESI hospitals, Army hospitals, the DMA suggested, adding that these set-ups are already equipped with required infrastructure and healthcare facilities
There are more than 30 large hospitals built on institutional land provided by the government, who can dedicate more beds for this purpose.
"We wish to reinforce that the need of the hour is not isolation beds but beds to treat moderate and severely ill COVID-19 patients which can be done with the addition of ICU and HDU beds," the DMA suggested.
It said that small and medium-sized nursing homes should be allowed to continue to contribute and serve the healthcare needs of a large number of non-COVID-19 patients of Delhi.
Taking cognizance of the matter and DMA's objection to the move, the Delhi CM revoked its order.
According to a new order issued by the Delhi government, the decision to declare nursing homes as COVID facilities has now been "withdrawn with immediate effect".