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Docs urge govt to increase critical care units for Covid patients

Docs urge govt to increase critical care units for Covid patients
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KOLKATA: Various doctors' organisations in the city have urged the Bengal government to increase the number of critical care beds and ventilators in the Covid designated hospitals as a majority of the patients admitted to the hospitals were requiring critical support.

The number of active cases in the state has increased four times than the first wave of Covid last year. To handle the situation, the State Health department had increased Covid beds in hospitals in proportionate manner, the doctors from various organisations opined. But, the number of critical and ventilation beds must be increased further, said some doctors.

When the Covid infection was at its peak in October last year during the first wave, active cases hovered around 37,000-38,000 while daily infection remained a little over 4,000. But, now the daily infection has gone above 19,000 and active cases are more than a lakh. Covid beds have gone up to 46,000 but there are only 2,542 critical care beds. There are about 1,283 ventilators. During last year, the number of critical care beds stood at 1,809 and ventilators around 1,090.

"State requires at least 50,000 active Covid beds. Many of the beds were included into the system but they have not been made operational yet. More critical care beds need to be installed along with ventilators as many patients are requiring critical care facilities," said Dr Swapan Biswas, senior official of Service Doctors' Forum. The state branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has recently written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging her to smoothly implement the procedure of admission of patients to the hospitals. It suggested that the government should strengthen the call centre that has been operational.

The biggest doctors' organisation also pointed out that there had been huge strain on Swasthya Bhawan as the patients from all the districts call the helpline numbers. If a similar mechanism could be made operational in all the districts, the pressure on Swasthya Bhawan would be reduced, they said.

"Infrastructure and call centre facilities should be strengthened at the district level so that patients do not depend upon the integrated helpline number of Swasthya Bhawan. The hospitals should also be given some freedom so that they can admit on their own which will help to save the lives of some patients during emergency," a senior official of IMA said.

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