Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare today chaired a high level meeting to review the preparedness of the Central Government Hospitals in New Delhi (Safdurjung Hospital, Dr RML Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College) and AIIMS, New Delhi for clinical management of the severe COVID19 patients. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare also joined the review meeting by virtual link.
The Union Health Minister stated that the country is passing through the second wave. Most of the States and UTs are reporting a very high number of daily cases and the daily mortality has also increased. The Central Government has been leading the fight against COVID-19 through a ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approach. The hospital infrastructure has been substantially ramped up through various proactive decisions taken by the Union Government in collaboration with the State and UTs. In view of the unprecedented surge in the number of daily cases, the requirement of oxygen supported and ICU beds in addition to adequate oxygen supply along with medicines and trained manpower has increased manifold, he pointed out.
The Union Health Minister reviewed in detail the beds availability including oxygen supported and the ICU-ventilators beds. Various hospitals informed regarding the immediate steps being taken for augmenting the beds availability to cater to the immediate needs of COVID patients. The Union Minister directed all the hospitals to urgently start work on the augmentation plans through fabricated hospitals, repurposing non-COVID beds (such that these healthcare services are not unduly and adversely impacted), conversion of buildings/blocks and wards in the existing premises into dedicated COVID facilities.
It was informed that Safdurjung Hospital is augmenting the bed availability with 172 more COVID beds (total being 391). With this, the Super Specialty Block at Safdurjung Hospital will be fully converted to a specialty block for only COVID patients. Also, 46 beds (including 32 ICU beds) are being added with help of CSIR.
Dr RML Hospital informed that they are converting some other non-COVID buildings for dedicated COVID treatment facilities. This step shall provide 200 additional beds for COVID patients.
In LHMC, 240 more beds are being created by CSIR which shall become operationalised soon. Dr Shekhar Mande, Secretary, DSIR & Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) assured that all support is being provided to strengthen and expedite the ongoing efforts.
Director AIIMS, New Delhi outlined the expansion plans for adding more beds in other wards/blocks such as the Burns and Plastic Surgery Centre, NCI Jhajjar, Dr. R P Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences and the geriatric wards. The total capacity shall be enhanced to more than 1000 beds for only COVID patients.
The Union Health Minister also reviewed the status of oxygen availability in the various Central Government Hospitals and AIIMS, New Delhi and the steps being taken for timely augmenting the supply. Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary informed of various measures taken by the Union Government to resolve and streamline logistic issues related to transport of oxygen supply from the manufacturing sources to the hospitals. He informed of the 24*7 Control Room of DPIIT that is working to resolve all transportation related issues of Delhi for smooth supply of oxygen.
The Union Health Minister directed to expedite installation of 5 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants at all locations in Delhi hospitals. He also directed all Central Government Hospitals to be prepared with expansion plans for providing timely treatment to the COVID19 patients in the days to come. A decision was also taken to install DRDO-Tata Sons oxygen generation plants at AIIMS, NIC Jhajjar, Safdarjung, LHMC and Dr RML Hospital immediately. These plants shall have a capacity to generate 1000 litres of Oxygen per minute.
Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey reminded heads of Central Govt Hospitals regarding measures to be taken for hospital safety, as this was pointed out during the review meeting of the Prime Minister with the States Chief Ministers today. Pointing to reports that many COVID patients are returned from the hospitals without any medicines, he urged them to ensure that all COVID patients are provided medicines from the Central Hospitals. He also urged them to ensure beds are available for doctors and health workers who have been providing selfless services since last one year.
Dr (Prof), Sunil Kumar, DGHS; Dr Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, New Delhi; Dr D N Mathur, Director LHMC; Dr N Goplakrishnan, Director CSIR-Central Building research Institute (CBRI); Dr S V Arya, MS, Safdurjung Hospital; and Dr Rana A K Singh, MS, Dr. RML Hospital were present at the meeting.