Delhi Government reduces COVID-19 ICU bed reservations in private hospitals
(Sourced from PTI)
The Delhi High Court was informed on Tuesday that the Delhi Government has reduced the reservation of COVID-19 ICU beds in private hospitals to 25 percent from 40 percent earlier. The petitioner, the Association of Healthcare Providers, had sought to quash the government's September 12, 2020 order to reserve 80 percent ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in 33 private hospitals which are its members.
Counsel for petitioner, Advocate Sanyam Khetarpal, informed the court, "The government has issued an order on January 15 reducing the reservation to 25 percent in hospitals which have over 100 beds." Justice Navin Chawla listed the matter for further hearing on February 2 after Advocate Khetarpal said that he requires some time to get instructions from the member hospitals on this.
As per the government's order, a review meeting was held by the competent authority on January 15, in which the data concerning the pattern of COVID-19 beds and COVID-19 ICU beds occupancy on that date in 115 private hospitals providing coronavirus treatment was analyzed.
It was decided in the meeting to lower reservation of the total bed capacity from 30 percent to 15 percent, and of ICU beds from 40 percent to 25 percent in 45 hospitals having more than 100 beds and providing coronavirus related treatment. It was decided that other 70 hospitals having up to 100 beds shall have the option of reserving COVID-19 beds/ICU beds.
The Delhi Government had told the High Court that it has decided to de-escalate to 60 percent the number of ICU beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in 33 private hospitals as was recommended by a De-escalation Committee.
Earlier, the Delhi Government counsel had said not a single non-COVID-19 patient has come to the court saying that he was denied treatment in the hospital due to 80 percent of ICU beds being reserved for COVID-19 patients. He had also stated that not even a single private hospital approached the High Court claiming that they suffered financial loss due to this reservation order.
The petitioner organization's counsel had contended that the ICU beds were kept vacant and no payment was made by the government to the hospitals which were facing financial losses. He argued that there was no validity or permissibility to continue with the September 12 order.
The September 12 order of the Delhi Government was earlier stayed by the High Court on September 22 last year. However, a division of the High Court on November 12, 2020, vacated the stay order taking into account the change in circumstances since the time the stay order was passed. The daily number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi had reached over 8,000 in November.
The petitioner association had told the high court that the Delhi government's order shall be quashed as it was passed irrationally and is ex-facie perverse. The government, however, contended that the COVID-19 infection in Delhi has become critical recently and the cases are spiraling and 80 percent of ICU/HDU beds needed to be reserved for COVID-19 patients in the 33 private hospitals.