Rajkot: While number of cases are rising steadily, Rajkot city is struggling with the shortage of beds to treat Covid patients. Rajkot is registering 300 new cases per day and even as the district administration and RMC is struggling to manage more beds, private hospitals are still reluctant to get fire NOC because of strict rules. Nearly 80 percent of private hospitals don’t meet the requirement of new fire safety norms.
Norms have become stricter after the fire incident in Uday Shivanand hospital in November last year in which six lives were lost, following which many private hospitals had closed their Covid facilities. The district administration data states there were 817 Covid beds vacant in Rajkot on April 1, while on Wednesday only 393 were vacant and that too after a new facility of 110 beds in Samras hostel was created.
According to Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), the city has more than 1,700 active cases which has exhausted the existing combined bed capacity of government and private hospitals in the city. The situation has particularly worsened owing to severe cases of Rajkot and also neighbouring districts like Morbi and Surendrangar being referred to the city.
When the pandemic was in its peak in September-October last year, there were 32 private hospitals treating Covid patients in the city, while currently only 19 private hospitals have these facilities. Of these, five hospitals are very big scale hospitals where middle class people can’t afford the fees.
A senior officer in RMC told TOI that before the Shivanand hospital fire incident, NOC were granted to those hospitals who have accommodation facility in hostel or hotel and also that hospitals had fire NOC of commercial buildings. “Now the norms of fire NOC have been upgraded and fire audit committee grants NOC to only those buildings that meet all the requirements to be used for hospital purpose only,” the official added.
Praful Kamani, president of Rajkot Medical Association said, “Nearly 80% hospitals of Rajkot do not meet RMC’s new requirement for fire NOC. We had a meeting with the collector on Monday and suggested to remain liberal inNOC norms looking at the spike in the cases. The beds in most of the private hospitals are full currently and if beds are not increased, we may have to shift patients to Ahmedabad if this peak will continue for one more week.”