Cabinet Secretary stresses on ramping up Delhi’s medical infrastructure


Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday emphasised the need to ramp up the medical infrastructure in Delhi at the earliest, to cater to the increasing demand for Covid beds, ICUs and ventilators.

He also stressed the need to make available all relevant information on Covid beds and other facilities or medicine availability to the public, through dedicated websites or apps, on the basis of which people in need of such facilities or medicines can approach the right place.

The action came at a time when hundreds of patients are lying outside Delhi hospitals due to lack of proper medical facilities, leading to many deaths in previous days.

Gauba sought creation of a single helpline at the front end to provide relevant clinical information to the needy and that the helpline should be popularised and can be serviced through a dedicated and well-staffed call centre.

On issues related to availability of oxygen, the Cabinet Secretary expressed his anguish at recent instances, where people had suffered due to lack of adequate and timely availability of oxygen.

Reviewing various aspects of Covid-19 preparedness in the national capital in wake of the Delhi High Court on Saturday directing the Centre to provide the assigned oxygen supply to Delhi with immediate effect by any means or face contempt action on Monday during next hearing on the issue, he asked the Delhi government to make all out efforts to lift their allocated oxygen, using all the means at their disposal; and also to ensure that the oxygen available to them is distributed rationally and in a transparent manner, so that there is no diversion or leakage.

On the issue of adequate medical and healthcare human resources, Gauba asked the Delhi government to create flexible procedures to engage the services of retired medical professionals.

He also sought further augmentation of testing facilities and timely availability of test results.

Officials of the Delhi government made a presentation in the meeting, covering issues of recent trends in active cases, deaths and positivity rate; availability and expansion plans of medical infrastructure; status of oxygen availability; home isolation procedures and helpline; ambulance services; and testing.

The meeting was also attended by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, NITI Aayog Member Dr. V.K. Paul, the Delhi Chief Secretary and other senior officials of Delhi government, senior officials of the Union Health Ministry, and Commissioners of Municipal Corporations of Delhi and the Chairman, NDMC.

The Union Health Ministry officials stressed the need to restart the earlier practice of transparent electronic displays, at each hospital site, of the number of beds available in that facility for COVID patients. Additional Secretary, Health also emphasised the need for setting up oxygen audit Committees in various hospitals and medical facilities.

Paul emphasized the seriousness of the present situation and recommended that small nursing homes and hospitals be roped in for augmenting the medical infrastructure of the capital. He asked for Covid Care Centres to be opened in hotels and similar places, as per the protocol.

In order to supplement the 24×7 helpline of the Delhi government, Paul recommended that the Delhi Medical Association be requested to offer around 50 doctors, who can voluntarily provide medical consultation to Covid-19 patients.

The helpline or medical professional can provide guidance on use of medicines, oxygen concentrators and other medical facilities, he added.