'Make public info on hospitals for non-COVID patients'

Make public info on hospitals for non-COVID-19 patients: Bombay HC

DH file photo

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to make public details of the arrangements made to ensure medical treatment for non-COVID-19 patients.

Justice B Colabawalla issued the direction after BMC counsel Anil Sakhre told the high court that the civic body had directed all private hospitals, clinics, dispensaries to remain open and provide treatment to non-COVID-19 patients.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by a lawyer and social activists highlighting the plight of people suffering from several chronic or serious ailments being turned away from clinics and hospitals, and issues such as lack of adequate facilities and medical infrastructure in the state, municipal-run, and private hospitals in current times.

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Senior advocate Gayatri Singh, counsel for one of the petitioners, told the high court that while the BMC had issued the above directions, it was imperative that the authorities ensured implementation on the ground considering that there existed a shortage of PPE kits, health staff, and medical infrastructure.

She pointed out that the state and municipal authorities did not have a detailed action plan for non- COVID-19 patients and several people had died of lack of treatment already.

She added that the authorities must also come up with a helpline for non-coronavirus patients to assist them with ambulance, mobile medical aid, list of hospitals and clinics providing treatment.

The petitioners also suggested that the authorities could make arrangements for mobile clinics, and paramedical services at different locations to help non COVID patients who did not necessarily require hospitalisation but were in need of preliminary check-ups, dialysis, or other such aid.

At this, Justice Colabawalla said that the BMC and the state had to ensure implementation of their directions to provide medical aid to non-COVID-19 patients.

He said that the authorities must make public all information on the hospitals and clinics that will remain open for other patients, and those that are meant exclusively for COVID-19 patients.

He directed Sakhre and the state's counsel, advocate Poornima Kantharia to file their respective affidavits within two weeks, advocate Singh said.