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Delhi govt won’t allow ‘black marketing’ of beds in private hospitals: Arvind Kejriwal

Addressing a digital press conference on Saturday, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal expressed disappointment over private hospitals denying admission to Corona patients. He also warned of stern action against hospitals involved in the black marketing of beds and said medical professionals will be deployed in each private hospital to ensure patients are aware of beds available in hospitals and they are admitted without any hassles.

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “A few days back, a person came to me and informed me that he was denied a bed by a private hospital, and after many requests, they charged him 2 lakh for admission. On a live TV program aired a few days back, an anchor called up a hospital saying that he needs a bed for a Corona positive patient in his family. First, he was denied the availability of the bed, and later he was told to submit 8 lakh for the admission. I am not saying that all private hospitals are indulged in these kinds of practices. Private hospitals play an important role in the development of the health infrastructure of Delhi, and the people of Delhi salute this contribution of private hospitals. But certain private hospitals are indulged in malpractices such as black-marketing of beds, even in these distressing times. We launched an app on Tuesday because we realized that this black-marketing of beds is a result of inadequate information amongst the public on the availability of beds in various hospitals. We wanted to make all the information transparent in front of the public, about the occupancy and vacancy of beds in the hospitals, no hospital will be able to fool them.”

“But, after the launch of the app on Tuesday, we received a major backlash for our intent to give out the information. Now the people know that if a hospital is denying a bed in case of an emergency, they must be lying because they can access the app and know how many beds are still vacant in that particular hospital. Also, we are not updating the app ourselves. The hospitals are updating their beds status on the backend of the app, and still lying about their availability to the people. It will take some time to burst the whole mafia behind this,” he added.

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that some hospitals have become powerful because they have contacts in all political parties. They are also denying admissions to Corona positive patients. “I want to warn these hospitals and tell them that your hospitals were established for the service of the people and not to earn money. Where most of the hospitals are serving the people during this pandemic, I want to warn these few hospitals who are indulging in these malpractices on the instructions of their contacts in other parties, that they will not be spared,” said the CM.

CM Kejriwal said that his team is working since yesterday and he met a few officials to address the matter. “We are calling and meeting the heads of all these hospitals since yesterday, and they are being told that there will be no negotiations in the treatment of people in their hospitals as they have to admit the people who are in need. They have been told that they have to reserve 20% beds for Corona patients, and if they deny that due to a shortage of infrastructure and other reasons, 100% of their beds will be declared as COVID beds. We have met around 33 hospitals since yesterday to address the genuine concerns of the hospitals. A hospital has requested that 40% of their beds in their general ward be reserved for Corona patients, instead of 20% being reserved for each of their premises because they are also treating cancer patients. Since it was a genuine concern, we allowed them to do that. We are resolving all genuine concerns like these, provided there will be no negotiation on the treatment that should be done for the people of Delhi who are suffering from Corona.”

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that this is a first of its kind initiative in the entire world, where a government is ensuring transparency by giving out information on the availability of beds and ventilators in the hospitals. He said, “I am happy that TV reports and all public health advocates are calling these hospitals and taking reports of bed availability in their hospitals. On Tuesday, there were 2800 patients mostly admitted to the Delhi govt hospitals, and today, there are 3900 patients, which means 1100 patients have increased in the private hospitals in Delhi. People are no accessing the information via the app and asking for the beds. I have been witnessing some videos on social media where people are still finding it difficult to locate vacant beds. I want to appeal to them to please give me some time and if the hospitals continue to have the same approach towards the people, strict action will be taken against them.”

A medical professional of the Delhi govt will be deployed on the reception of every private hospital and will give information on the bed vacancy in the hospitals as well as ensure that people are admitted. “This way, we will be able to shun false refusals and black-marketing of beds by the hospital authorities,” he added.

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal announced that order on behalf of the government will also be issued stating that no hospital can deny treatment to a suspected patient. “If a suspected patient goes to a hospital for treatment because of a shortage of breath and other issues, all hospitals deny admission and tell them to get tested first. How will he get tested? We are issuing an important order today, under which no suspected patient will be denied admission and treatment by any hospital. Whether/whether not he/she is a Corona patient, their treatment should start immediately, and based on their tests later, they will be shifted to Corona or non-corona wards of the hospitals,” he said.

“There are reports in the media that testing in Delhi has been stopped. Today, we have received 5300 samples for testing. Testing has not stopped, there are 42 labs in Delhi for testing, and out of them, action has been taken against 6 labs that were not performing their duties adequately. 36 labs are still operational and samples are collected regularly. For testing, the Delhi govt has established flu clinics and testing centres, where people can get themselves tested. There are 17 COVID testing centres in Delhi and private labs for testing. Out of all the states, major testing is done in Delhi, but no matter how much is the testing rate, it will remain limited,” added the CM.

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “Our priority is saving the lives of the people. Mild and asymptomatic cases will recover, but saving lives in case of serious patients whose oxygen levels have fallen should be our motive. Our system will collapse out of a burden if asymptomatic cases also go for testing. Delhi has a population of 2 crore people, and if 10000 people go for testing Delhi every day, our testing capacity will fall short. Asymptomatic people do not need to get tested, because it will then decrease the testing capacity for serious patients who need testing. There might be teething problems in the system, and I assure you that they will be resolved.”

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