The Gujarat High Court has directed additional chief secretary Rajeev Gupta, who is spearheading Ahmedabad’s fight against coronavirus, to talk to the management of eight major hospitals in the city and enter into a memorandum of understanding for enabling COVID-19 treatment in these hospitals.
The eight hospitals which feature in the high court’s order include Apollo Hospital in Bhaat and near Parimal Railway Crossing; KD Hospital at Vaishnodevi Circle; Zydus Hospital, Columbia Asia Hospital, and Global Hospital at Hebatpur Road; Anand Surgical Hospital at Naroda, and UN Mehta Hospital.
The division bench of Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Ilesh Vora has pointed out that these are reputed hospitals of the city and capable of admitting thousands of patients. It asked the administration of these hospitals to come forward during this crisis hour.
“It is practically impossible for the Civil Hospital and SVP Hospital to admit COVID-19 patients. In such circumstances, all the eight hospitals named above are not only morally responsible, but, are also legally obliged to agree to reserve 60% beds for the treatment of the COVID19 patients,” the court remarked in its order.
The bench also questioned why KD Hospital, despite being a charitable hospital has not come forward for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The court said the hospital is enjoying the benefits of a charitable hospital as enshrined under the law and it should on its own reserve 50 per cent beds for COVID-19 patients.
“We may not be compelled to take any harsh or extreme steps against any of the hospitals,” the court said.
Similarly, the court pointed out that Zydus Hospital being a 10-storied hospital can reserve two floors for COVID-19 treatment. The bench directed the government to issue a notification making it mandatory for all the multi-specialty private and corporate hospitals in the city and outskirts of Ahmedabad to reserve 50 per cent beds for COVID-19 treatment.
The court also asked state government to make use of Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme that provides families with Rs 5 lakh hospitalisation cover for treatment of patients in private hospitals.
The court also questioned the government to explain how the rates have been finalised for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in private hospitals. It also asked the authorities to renegotiate the prices and make it reasonable and affordable for people.