Doctors, IMA blast CM over passing over demands

  • | Saturday | 1st August, 2020

A day after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Pune for the first time in the past five months, since the first Covid-19 positive patient was reported in the city and the state, the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Maharashtra chapter has expressed its disappointment over the state government ignoring their demands and problems, especially those of private hospitals so much so that doctors have even expressed their willingness to go on a protest.

A day after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Pune for the first time in the past five months, since the first Covid-19 positive patient was reported in the city and the state, the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Maharashtra chapter has expressed its disappointment over the state government ignoring their demands and problems, especially those of private hospitals so much so that doctors have even expressed their willingness to go on a protest.

The association has also expressed displeasure over the district administration’s decision to include small nursing homes as Covid-19 hospitals which might affect non-Covid patients.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra president Dr Avinash Bhondwe tweeted on Friday noon, “Maha CM visited Pune for supervising Corona pandemic control measures. We thought he would meet a few doctors as well. How foolish we were. As per the govt view, doctors are doing nothing. Just, extracting money. All the work is done by ministers and administrators.”

Bhondwe further stated that the IMA has conveyed its objections on hospital rates which the government has, unilaterally, fixed the charges of private hospitals without taking into consideration the actual expenses.

The private hospitals do not receive any grants or financial help or any concession in govt. taxes. Rather, some extra taxes are applied to the hospitals. The private hospitals do not receive any concession in electricity bills, water bills, staff salary, EMI, etc. The ICU needs 6-7 types of doctors per shift for three shifts per day. They all need a huge number of PPE kits and disposables. In addition, sanitization is a continuous process in Covid-19 hospitals. Hospitals have to bear this expense. The disposal of biomedical waste is also becoming an additional expense.

He further said, “The staff has to be compulsorily quarantined for seven days after a duty of seven days. So, hospitals have to employ double the number of staff required. Also, they are paid 25 - 30 per cent more for working in Covid-19 pandemic. Sometimes, hospitals have to arrange for accommodation/travel/food for the staff. In addition to this, the government has threatened to apply ‘MESMA’ for the staff of private hospitals also.”

Bhondwe further added, “Despite communicating multiple times with the government there has been no response. The members of the Indian medical association and other doctors’ associations are extremely frustrated because of all problems discussed above and the attitude of the government, media, police and public. They are expressing a willingness to go for collective protest in our meetings. But the IMA is deferring any such proposal.”

The IMA’s stand has been reiterated by the association of hospitals in Pune in its letter to the new divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao.

The letter states, “We, private hospitals are still receiving notices on each and every day to increase our bed capacity for Covid-19 patients but no one is looking at the main reason for not being able to increase the patient base. Also, accommodation through the hostel is a major requirement which you had agreed to give us from colleges which are closed and hotels to accommodate staffs who go on periodical quarantine.”

The letter also complains about the dashboard which is not reflecting all hospitals and also does not provide timely updates as it takes a lot of time of the staff which is otherwise busy treating patients wearing PPE kits.

Dr Sanjay Patil, who chairs the hospital board of India’s Pune chapter said, “The decision to include small nursing hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients will leave the non-Covid19 patients with no medical help. Also, it takes a lot of staff to continuously sanitize the hospital premises. The hospital must have separate entry and exit for covid19 and non-Covid patients and also for the staff treating those patients. Rather the administration can include hotels into isolating asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms and the smaller hospitals can provide medical assistance when needed.”

Saurabh Rao, the divisional commissioner said, “Maharashtra is probably the first state in the country which devised a task force for every district which includes representatives from private hospitals too. The meeting on Thursday with the CM was purely for administrative purposes; however, the CM is in constant touch with the medical fraternity through video calls too.”



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